Why Global Temperatures Appear Stable As Earth Warms

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


About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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