Global warming means oceans are taking the heat

Keith Gaby

Ged Carroll/flickr

Here’s an update on an issue recently discussed here on EDF Voices. The Economist magazine reaffirmed, again, that our climate is warming due to greenhouse gas pollution, but they also pointed to a curious question within that larger trend. Why had steadily rising atmospheric temperatures plateaued in the last few years? 

It was still hot – eight of the nine hottest years on record were in the last decade – but the increase seemed to have paused. In other words, our highly complex climate system was behaving just about as climate scientists had been predicting, but this was an exception. And now some scientists think they have figure out that wrinkle.  Here’s how USA Today reported it:

“A recent study found that heat absorbed by the world’s oceans has increased significantly over the same period, prompting the study co-authors to say that the warming has been diverted and is heating the oceans instead of the atmosphere. The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.”

We’ll see what other scientists in the field have to say about that research. The details of climate change and global warming remain a fascinating field of study. In the meantime, we non-scientists need to figure out how to solve our political problem.

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