Observations: Oceanic Climate Change and Sea Level (Chapter 5 of IPCC Working Group I Report: The Physical Science Basis)

This chapter of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC 4th Assessment Report provides detailed scientific analysis of observed changes in global ocean temperature and salinity, sea level, thermal expansion, water mass evolution and biogeochemical parameters.

Results of the analysis demonstrate that the oceans are warming; subpolar latitudes are freshening and shallower parts of the tropical and subtropical oceans are salinifying; key oceanic water masses are changing; the total inorganic carbon content of the oceans has increased and continues to increase, changing the ocean biogeochemistry; and that global mean sea level has been rising.

The report concludes ultimately that all of these observations taken together give high confidence that the ocean state has changed, that the spatial distribution of the changes is consistent with the large-scale ocean circulation and that these changes are in response to changed ocean surface conditions.

Publication Date: 2007

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • S. Solomon
  • D. Qin
  • M. Manning
  • Z. Chen
  • M. Marquis
  • K.B. Averyt
  • M. Tignor
  • H.L. Miller

Related Organizations:

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment


Go To Resource