When global warming skeptics use the unchanged global air temperature from the past decade to argue that Earth is not warming, this illustrates several misunderstandings, reports Dana Nuccitelli at Skeptical Science. About 90% of the solar heat trapped by the atmosphere gets absorbed by all levels of the oceans, which cover most of the planet. Because many other factors influence surface air temperatures on short timescales, these data are noisy, and so it’s easy to cherrypick temporary flat periods, like the past decade, to wrongly claim that global warming has stopped. Most ocean heat accumulation occurs close to the surface. The best ocean heat measurements are for the 0–700 meter layer, which accounts for over 60 percent of overall global warming, with the last 30% stored in deeper layers. While heat accumulation in the top 700 meters has slowed in recent years, it has accelerated in the deeper700–2,000 meter oceanic layer. NOAA data show that overall, the oceans have accumulated more heat in the past 15 years than the previous 15 years. And it’s that extra surface heat that makes bad storms, like Hurricane Sandy, even worse.
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Cherrypicking to Deny Continued Ocean and Global Warming by Dana Nuccitelli, originally published here, at Skeptical Science: http://www.skepticalscience.com/cherrypicking-deny-continued-ocean-global-warming.html