‘Liquid Climate Archives’

A new study published in Scientific Reports reports that tidal measurements reveal something about the masses of ocean water, and therefore the climate of the past, and act as “liquid climate archives.”

The study, co-authored by Angelo Rubino, professor of Oceanography at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, along with the researcher Davide Zanchettin, demonstrates that it is possible to obtain such data, at least partially, via the study of strait dynamics. In such areas, in fact, there are often a number of stations for tide measurement that have been operational for over a century. The main discovery reported by this new research is that variations in the position of the sea’s surface measured by these stations contain information that may also affect many phenomena occurring under the surface of the adjacent basins. The morphology of the straits enables researchers to amplify these signals and transmit them up to the surface.

The discovery began with an empirical observation: the team, composed of researchers hailing from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, the Alfred-Wegener Institute of Bremerhaven (Germany), and the P. P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of St Petersburg (Russia), noted that the sea level measured at Messina did not correspond to that of Catania, merely tens of kilometers away, and that the trend representing the variation in this difference over time overlapped with the periodic alternation in water circulation of the nearby Ionian Sea basin.

With the use of a numerical model for describing strait dynamics, the scholars were able to demonstrate that the empirical relationship is supported by a physical explanation: the clockwise rather than counter-clockwise movement in the Ionian Sea pushes water masses of different densities into the vicinity of the Strait of Messina and the different densities affect the strait dynamics.

“What we have concluded,” explains Angelo Rubino, “is that the differences between the sea levels of Messina and Catania measured in the early 1900s are similar to those of today; therefore we hypothesize that variations in the circulation of the Ionian Sea similar to those observed recently may have taken place in the past.”

The study demonstrates that some “lost” data pertaining to local deep sea variability can be recovered. As the team explains, “It can thus be confirmed that regions such as straits, where different water masses are coming into contact, constitute a sort of ‘magnifying lens’ to highlight the dynamics of the deep sea and make it possible to put together some ‘liquid archives’ for climate research.”


The paper: Tidal Records as Liquid Climate Archives for Large-Scale Interior Mediterranean Variability, Scientific Reports (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-30930-8

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23 thoughts on “‘Liquid Climate Archives’

  1. very few deep measurements were taken until recent decades.

    given the scale of the deep oceans the reality are few are available no , perhaps even to few to have scientific validity beyond ‘model inputs ‘
    But this climate ‘science’ so who needs scientific validity in the first place .

    • ” … and make it possible to put together some ‘liquid archives’ for climate research”

      They just need a little time to manufacture the data they need

      • What we have concluded,” explains Angelo Rubino, “is that the differences between the sea levels of Messina and Catania measured in the early 1900s are similar to those of today; therefore we hypothesize that variations in the circulation of the Ionian Sea similar to those observed recently may have taken place in the past.”

        Readers Digest condensed version “What is happening today may have taken place in the past”
        Or … It did it before and it will do it again …

    • I would like to point out that the numerical model of the water flow was validated against measurements.

      The ‘recovery’ of ‘data’ is a different calculation and should be validated against whatever information is available.

    • It certainly suggests that this ‘science is not yet settled’ [although there may also be a ‘Send Money’ coda!].
      The authors do –
      “hypothesize that variations in the circulation of the Ionian Sea similar to those observed recently may have taken place in the past.”

      I do wonder if their observations might – perchance – have been made in different seasons.
      Admiralty Routeing Charts give expected flows for each month of the year.
      [See – https://www.admiralty.co.uk/charts/planning-charts/routeing-charts ]
      Some significant differences exist month to month, as many would expect.

      Auto

  2. Geeze, I never knew that the cause(s) of an event can be inferred from the event itself.

    Okay, time for a double scotch, neat

    • mark f/t MW,
      Forensic fire investigators do that all the time. The ignition point provides plenty of clues as to whether something was natural or if an accelerant was used.

      • Clyde, I don’t disagree with the fact that we can follow a trail of evidence backward in order to determine a cause, I do that in my own work in telecom all the time. But these guys are saying that the measures from a prior time, a hundred years ago, were the same as they are now and so we can infer that the cause of an event in a prior time was the same as it is now because the outcome is the same.

        • mark ftm
          QUOTE
          “What we have concluded,” explains Angelo Rubino, “is that the differences between the sea levels of Messina and Catania measured in the early 1900s are similar to those of today; therefore we hypothesize that variations in the circulation of the Ionian Sea similar to those observed recently may have taken place in the past.”
          END QUOTE [from the lead article.
          Here, the quote includes – ‘similar’; hypothesize’; ‘similar”may’.
          I suggest that your phrasing –
          “But these guys are saying that the measures from a prior time, a hundred years ago, were the same as they are now and so we can infer that the cause of an event in a prior time was the same as it is now because the outcome is the same” may be a slight over-egging of the (metaphorical) pudding.

          Is this science – well, it may be.
          It does suggest to me [alone, if needs be] that there is some science not yet fully settled.

          Auto

  3. “The discovery began with an empirical observation…..”

    Brilliant, progress at last, empirical observations used in climate science.

    “With the use of a numerical model for describing strait dynamics…..”

    Aw pants!……they blew it.

    • Not so fast:

      “…the scholars were able to demonstrate that the empirical relationship is supported by a physical explanation…”

      Numerical models backed by empirical relationships equals genuine science.

  4. Of course the best thing about the deep ocean is that is both deep and vast so lots of thing can be claimed to be hiding in it, lost cities , ships , alien craft , or even’ heat ‘ in the safe knowledge that others are no position to prove you wrong .

  5. So, are they saying they might be able to approximate the timing and magnatude of the North Atlantic Oscillations back before it was discovered?

  6. Collisions of currents are always interesting and important to biologists. The Straits were famous for their upwelling bringing up deep-sea fishes, suggested to be from deep internal waves. This may have liquid importance to old salts. There is an old Italian and some German literature (in their language). They teased about knowing the old literature, but one would have to check to see how much of this is simulation. Internal waves do have actual measurements.

  7. “…between the sea levels of Messina and Catania measured in the early 1900s are similar to those of today; therefore we hypothesize that variations in the circulation of the Ionian Sea similar to those observed recently may have taken place in the past.” Should have been added: But we will have to wait until the early 2200 to confirm our findings.

  8. “What we have concluded,” explains Angelo Rubino, “is that the differences between the sea levels of Messina and Catania measured in the early 1900s are similar to those of today; therefore we hypothesize that variations in the circulation of the Ionian Sea similar to those observed recently may have taken place in the past.”

    Typical model magic happens…

    “The study demonstrates that some “lost” data pertaining to local deep sea variability can be recovered. As the team explains, “It can thus be confirmed that regions such as straits, where different water masses are coming into contact, constitute a sort of ‘magnifying lens’ to highlight the dynamics of the deep sea and make it possible to put together some ‘liquid archives’ for climate research.”

    Another study that claims great and glorious findings, without basis in reality.

    They have a hypothesis. Throw the model away and start proving findings.

  9. There is actually nothing new here. Nansen, Helland Hansen, and Sverdrup found out long ago that the deep ocean hides a ‘dynamic liquid system’ (e.g., deep-seated water masses that move around). They studied the Norweagian – Greenland deep ocean basin, and found the core of the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) and how it distributes around the globe.

    The problem with modern science, is that it seems to find up the wheel again and again. Why don’t they heed these old pivotal findings and continue their research with modern technology, such as autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), etc. ?

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