Friday 20 April 2018

Global warming 'pause' is thanks to heat-absorbent ocean

Steve Connor

Huge amounts of heat are being continuously absorbed by the deep ocean, which could explain why global warming has "paused" over the past 10 to 15 years, scientists have concluded.

The heat absorbed by the deep ocean is equivalent to the power of 150 billion electric kettles, according to researchers behind a series of reports to explain why the Earth's rate of warming has slowed down.

Global average temperatures are higher now than they have ever been since modern records began. However, after a period of rapid temperature increases during the 1980s and 1990s there has been a significant slow-down since the turn of the century, leading some sceptics to claim that global warming has stopped. A scientific assessment of the planet's heat balance has found that the most likely explanation for the recent hiatus in global warming is the continual absorption of thermal energy by the huge "heat sink" of the deep ocean many hundreds of metres below the sea surface, according to scientists from Britain's Met Office.

Senior climate scientists said that they had always expected periods when the rate of increase in temperatures would level off for a few years and emphasised that the past decade was still warmer than any previous decade, with 12 of the 14 hottest years on record occurring since 2000.

Professor Rowan Sutton, a climate scientist at Reading University, said the temperatures have levelled off in the past.

"Some people call it a slow-down, some call it a hiatus, some people call it a pause. The global average surface temperature has not increased substantially over the last 10 to 15 years," Prof Sutton said.

"Climate scientists absolutely expect variations in the rate at which surface temperature will rise, but that is not to say we understand all the details of the last 10 to 15 years," he said. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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