Cooler Pacific Slows Surface Warming, Not Global Warming

A partly cooler Pacific slows surface warming, not global warming, says a new study, reports Andrew Freedman at Climate Central.  Scientists probing the mystery of the so-called “global warming hiatus” may have made a breakthrough: a persistent area of unusually cool sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean could explain why, despite ever-increasing amounts of manmade greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, global average surface air and water temperatures have increased little during the past 15 years. By running sophisticated computer models that looked at observed sea surface temperatures and energy entering the climate system, researchers found that the decadal-scale cooling of a portion of the tropical Pacific accounts for most of the plateau in global average surface temperatures over this time. This induces most of the global warming heat to be absorbed into the deep ocean, keeping average surface temperatures relatively stable. But as the cycle swings back to warming that area, we are going to see a much more accelerated warming of air and sea surface temperatures. As study co-author Shang-Ping Xie  puts it, “When it swings up, we’re going to be in big trouble.”


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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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1 Response to Cooler Pacific Slows Surface Warming, Not Global Warming

  1. I suspected that something like this might be happening.

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