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Tue Apr 30, 2013, 09:56 AM

Why is Reuters puzzled by global warming's acceleration?

Why is Reuters puzzled by global warming's acceleration?
'Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown,' said Reuters. But warming is speeding up, and scientists can explain it



Oceans, such as the Pacific pictured here from space, are absorbing much of the warming the planet is currently experiencing. NASA/ Roger Ressmeyer/ Corbis
The rate of heat building up on Earth over the past decade is equivalent to detonating about 4 Hiroshima atomic bombs per second. Take a moment to visualize 4 atomic bomb detonations happening every single second. That's the global warming that we're frequently told isn't happening.

There are periods when the ocean heats up more quickly than the surface, and other periods when the surface heats up more quickly than the oceans. Right now we're in a period of fast ocean warming and overall, global warming is continuing at a very fast pace.

The confusion on this subject lies in the fact that only about 2 percent of global warming is used in heating air, whereas about 90 percent of global warming goes into heating the oceans (the rest heats ice and land masses). But humans live at the Earth's surface, and thus we tend to focus on surface temperatures. Over the past 1015 years, Earth's surface temperature has continued to rise, but slowly. At the same time, the warming of the oceans and the warming of the Earth as a whole has accelerated.

This was the conclusion of a scientific paper I co-authored last year, in which our team found more overall global warming (of the oceans, air, land, and ice combined) over the past 15 years than during the prior 15 years. Just recently, another paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that the warming of the oceans since the turn of the century has been the most sustained in the past 50 years. They also found that, consistent with my team's research, about 30% of overall global warming has gone into the deep oceans below 700 meters due to changing wind patterns and ocean currents. This accelerated deep ocean warming is also unprecedented in the past 50 years.

We often hear from the media that the (surface air) warming has slowed or paused over the past 15 years. This isn't a puzzle; ...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/apr/24/reuters-puzzled-global-warming-acceleration

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