Temperatures are rising at a slower pace right now than they did in the 1990s. Global warming skeptics have latched onto the slowdown in rising temperatures as proof it isn’t our fault. Climate scientists, on the other hand, have been busy looking for where the heat is going. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, but finding out where the heat is going is important.
Ka-Kit Tung and Xianyao Chen published their study on the subject in this week’s issue of Science. Tung is an atmospheric scientist and applied mathematician at the University of Washington in Seattle. Chen works at the Ocean University of China in Qingdao.
The two suggest most of the missing heat is finding its way into the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This goes against a previous study suggesting the heat went into the Pacific Ocean.
The Pacific Ocean study argued that strong trade winds related to the El Nino and La Nina cycle were responsible for pushing heat into the Pacific Ocean. Tung argued if that was the case then the stall in temperatures should resolve itself as soon as the next El Nino.
What did Tung and Chen find? Their study looked at temperature readings taken by scientific Argos floats all across the Atlantic. These floats showed an increase in the volume of water and heat down to about 1,500 meters over the 15 years. Tung says these reading could explain the missing heat.
“Every week there’s a new explanation for the hiatus. The finding is a surprise, since the current theories had pointed to the Pacific Ocean as the culprit for hiding heat. But the Atlantic data are quite convincing,” Tung said according to the Independent.
At the end of the day, the jury is still out on where the missing heat is. Climate skeptics will use it say global warming doesn’t exist. Scientists maintain it does and say more rapid surface warming is on the way.
The researchers believe the current slowdown in rising temperatures could last for another decade. After decades of warming, scientists believe a cooling phase is impacting the rise in temperatures.
Pretty much all scientists agree on global warming, or climate change, whatever you want to call it. I think we can all agree that pumping tons of greenhouse gases into the air isn’t the best idea. Anyone who doesn’t, why don’t you go live near a coal plant or paper mill for a few weeks? You’ll come around.