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HAS THERE BEEN A RECENT SLOWDOWN IN GLOBAL WARMING?

Many in the news media claim that Global Warming has slowed so that we do not have to worry about it. It is true that the Earth’s surface temperature seems to have risen at a slower rate in the last decade than expected from the increased greenhouse gas concentrations. However, this does not mean that global warming has stopped. Recent research shows that the extra heat being accumulated through the increase in these gases is actually being stored in the oceans rather than warming the air at the surface.

The oceans have been monitored by many buoys at all depths since the mid 1970s. Analysis of the data from these shows that the total heat content of the oceans is increasing at a faster rate than ever, particularly at great depths in the Atlantic. It is thought that the reason for this is that the Atlantic Ocean currents, which have speeded up in recent years, carry salty tropical water more quickly to the Arctic where they cool. The greater salinity causes them to sink carrying the stored heat with them rather than allowing it to heat the air. It is predicted that these tropical waters will cause increased melting of Arctic Ice which will slow down the currents. This is expected to be a cyclic process so that warming will come in cycles where first it speeds up and then slows down. One cycle may have occurred around 1960 after which warming slowed down. The effect was observed in the latter half of the 20th century with the slow down in warming in the 21st century. The warming should then resume in a few years time.

So Global Warming due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere is still happening, just where the heat is stored is different. Our problems will therefore continue if we do not curb our profligate use of fossil fuels.

Kesmail, October 2014

Oceanheatcontent