And we wonder what is heating our oceans.
Although the main objective of the polar-orbiting CryoSat, launched in 2010, is to measure sea-ice thickness in Greenland and Antarctica, high-resolution mapping of the ocean floor is now being added to its mission.
The topography of the ocean surface mimics the rises and dips of the ocean floor due to gravitational pull. Areas of greater mass, such as underwater mountains, have a stronger pull, attract more water, and produce a minor increase in ocean-surface height.
Therefore, instruments that measure sea-surface height can map the ocean floor in previously uncharted areas.
CryoSat’s radar altimeter can sense the gravity field at the ocean surface, so that seafloor characteristics at scales of 5–10 km are revealed.
“We know more about the surfaces of Venus and Mars than we do about the bathymetry of deep oceans,” said David Sandwell from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the US.
“This new mapping from CryoSat will revolutionise our understanding of ocean floor tectonics and reveal, perhaps, 10 000 previously uncharted undersea volcanoes.” (Italics added)
And we wonder what is heating our oceans!
As I point out in Not by Fire but by Ice (in the chapter entitled “Fish Stew”), “eight-hundred-degree plumes of water, from generally small lava flows, are gushing into our seas right now, from the coast of Oregon to the South Pacific.”
“And they’re heating our seas!”
“Fish stew. Clam chowder. Bouillabaisse. Shells and all. The biggest stew pot in the world.”
Actually, lava pouring into the seas can be as much as 2,150 degrees hot – ten times the boiling point! No wonder our oceans have warmed.
From the European Space Agency: CryoSat goes to sea
To date, only 10% of the seafloor has been charted, says meteorologist Anthony Watts. A complete mapping using ships would take 200 ships navigating Earth, 24 hours a day, for an entire year. Satellite radars can map a larger area in a shorter amount of time.
Thanks to Russ Steele at http://nextgrandminimum.wordpress.com/ for these links