Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 20 Sep 2011
Earth’s deep oceans may absorb enough heat at times to flatten the rate of global warming for periods of as long as a decade–even in the midst of longer-term warming. This according to a new analysis led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
The study, based on computer simulations of global climate, points to ocean layers deeper than 1,000 feet as the main location of the “missing heat” during periods such as the past decade when global air temperatures showed little trend.
The findings also suggest that several more intervals like this can be expected over the next century, even as the trend toward overall warming continues.
“We will see global warming go through hiatus periods in the future,” says NCAR’s Gerald Meehl, lead author of the study.
“However, these periods would likely last only about a decade or so, and warming would then resume. This study illustrates one reason why global temperatures do not simply rise in a straight line.”
The research, by scientists at NCAR and the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, was published online Sunday in Nature Climate Change.
Funding for the study came from the National Science Foundation (NSF), NCAR’s sponsor.
“The research shows that the natural variability of the climate system can produce periods of a decade or more in which Earth’s temperature does not rise, despite an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations,” says Eric DeWeaver, program director in NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences. Continue reading