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Study: Global warming is causing ‘ocean amnesia’

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Published: May. 6, 2022 at 1:04 PM HST|Updated: May. 6, 2022 at 2:19 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Global warming is causing the world’s oceans to lose their memory.

That’s according to a new study from a group of researchers that includes scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Atmospheric Sciences program.

“Ocean amnesia,” the researchers said, means that the world’s oceans are no longer showing a consistent pattern in their movement.

They said it is due to human-induced warming.

Researchers said the memory decline poses new challenge, and will have significant impacts on ocean predictions, ocean management, forecasting weather, and other extreme events due to their dependence on the persistence of sea surface temperature as a predictability source.

“We discovered this phenomenon by examining the similarity in ocean surface temperature from one year to the next as a simple metric for ocean memory,” said Hui Shi, lead author and researcher at California’s Farallon Institute.

“It’s almost as if the ocean is developing amnesia.”

UH-Manoa Atmospheric sciences Professor Fei-Fei Jin said, “Reduced ocean memory together with increased random fluctuations suggest intrinsic changes in the system and new challenges in prediction under warming.”

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