Global heat may hide in deep oceans

2011-09-18 22:03

New York - The mystery of Earth's missing heat may have been solved: it could lurk deep in oceans, temporarily masking the climate-warming effects of greenhouse gas emissions, researchers reported on Sunday.

Climate scientists have long wondered where this so-called missing heat was going, especially over the last decade, when greenhouse emissions kept increasing but world air temperatures did not rise correspondingly.

The build-up of energy and heat in Earth's system is important to track because of its bearing on current weather and future climate.

The temperatures were still high - the decade between 2000 and 2010 was Earth's warmest in more than a century - but the single-year mark for warmest global temperature was stuck at 1998, until 2010 matched it.

The world temperature should have risen more than it did, scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research reckoned.

They knew greenhouse gas emissions were rising during the decade and satellites showed there was a growing gap between how much sunlight was coming in and how much radiation was going out. Some heat was coming to Earth but not leaving, and yet temperatures were not going up as much as projected.

So where did the missing heat go?

Computer simulations suggest most of it was trapped in layers of oceans deeper than 305m during periods like the last decade when air temperatures failed to warm as much as they might have.

Heat has not disappeared

This could happen for years at a time, and it could happen periodically this century, even as the overall warming trend continues, the researchers reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

"This study suggests the missing energy has indeed been buried in the ocean," NCAR's Kevin Trenberth, a co-author of the study, said in a statement. "The heat has not disappeared and so it cannot be ignored. It must have consequences."

Trenberth and the other researchers ran five computer simulations of global temperatures, taking into account the interactions between the atmosphere, land, oceans and sea ice, and basing the simulations on projected human-generated greenhouse gas emissions.

These simulations all indicated global temperature would rise several degrees this century. But all of them also showed periods when temperatures would stabilize before rising.

During these periods, the extra heat moved into deep ocean water due to changes in ocean circulation, the scientists said.

  • vanommen.jan - 2011-09-18 22:46

    uhhh... ok... I think?

      Richard Townsend - 2011-09-19 03:47

      Please don't think, it only makes the global warming scientists job too difficult.

  • John - 2011-09-19 00:04

    Yeh right!!

  • Douglas - 2011-09-19 00:35

    The oceans are a buffer that absorbs a LOT of the CO2 we produce...and as the article points out, heat. And it seems the oceans are nearing some kind of saturation point, at least wrt the CO2. Krill and plankton are already dying out by the droves. But can't be us, can it?

      Shukran - 2011-09-19 10:24

      So somehow the deep oceans are defying the laws of physics and the hot water is descending? How the hell can they talk such drivel and how the hell can you lap it up like faithful puppies?

      Badballie - 2011-09-19 11:27

      No Douglas it can't be us. Unless you believe in super particles which travel all the way to the center of the earth to heat up our core without affecting the temperature of anything else it passes through on the way there. Stop buying into party line and the misinformation we are being fed

  • Pocho - 2011-09-19 02:16

    has anyone told algore? he will be sooooooooo happy!

  • Abe Goldstei - 2011-09-19 02:26

    Wow - the computer models that predict the temperature rise were wrong - but that can't mean the theory is wrong, or Al Gore was wrong - but that the heat was trapped in the Ocean's. Even if the science turns out to be right, which I don't believe, surely the people presenting it as incontrovertible can see why other people think they have been fudging.

      Hayley - 2011-09-19 08:12

      If heat in doesn't equal heat out the heat is going's really not that hard to understand...There is a greenhouse effect. There's no denying the basic theory, it's entirely natural and a key part of why our planet is habitable. How a change in this effect manifests itself on short timescales in a highly non-linear system is however debatable. On a side note there's no belief involved in science and the only people presenting science as incontrovertible are the media. If you'd like to know the details of the "fudging", read the scientific papers as first source.

  • Hal Anon - 2011-09-19 02:44

    The temperature rise its due to global warming or the Taliban. Temperature goes up or down and its due to global warming. Now do you understand the peoples skepticism over man made global warming. Its politics and personal glorification and not science.

  • Cliff Howard - 2011-09-19 03:00

    Of course that's the answer. Either that or spacemen are taking and selling our excess heat to pluto...

  • Richard Townsend - 2011-09-19 03:45

    Next it will be invisible wormholes transferring man made heat to the sun and we can also then be blamed for increased solar activity leading to the demise of earth.

  • Cire - 2011-09-19 10:15

    Missing heat! What missing heat? How about considering the possibility that CO2 is just not leading to global warming? One minute we are supposed to beieve the Earth is about to boil away into space unless we stop all economic activity and never drive cars again, the next minute we are expected to believe the heat is just hiding in the ocean.

  • Badballie - 2011-09-19 11:25

    more lies to cover up the holes in the last bunch of lies we were fed, yes heat trapped in a layer or layers 305 m deep, an depth where temperatures are known to be extremely low? so the new truth is heat rises unless it doesn't??

      FatPenguin - 2011-09-19 14:47

      If the water 305 m deep went from 4 C to 4.5 C then that's an increase in heat isn't it? You're confused about convection. Hot water rising and circulating = convection. Total energy in water increasing != convection. Use your head instead of immediately crying; "I think I know better based on 400 words News24 wrote! I must be smarter and know more about this than people who have multiple degrees in this field!"

  • David Nutzuki - 2011-09-19 13:53

    Be afraid readers. Be very afraid. BOYCOTT ALL FEAR MONGERING CLIMATE BLAME MEDIA!!

      FatPenguin - 2011-09-19 14:49

      Yes! Don't read anything! Don't listen to any logical arguments from educated people! Don't try to figure things out for yourself! Believe what other (select) people tell you without actually applying any reason at all!

  • werner.smidt - 2011-09-19 14:45

    Haha! Right ... make (up) the data (to) fit your model/assumptions.

  • totalkaosdave - 2011-09-19 19:41

    Or perhaps the evil HEAT MISER is stealing the warmth, or perhaps the earth is much more vibrant than a bunch of scientists paid by governments can ever begin to imagine, or perhaps their models are faulty, or perhaps the science really isn't settled yet...

  • Plagiarizedindignation - 2011-09-19 21:42

    I notice more intense radiation from the sun in the area I have lived in for 50 years. everyone I ask about it does too. in the 1960's there was almost half the global populate as 2011 this means that in 40 years it will multiply 1&1/2 times what it was in 2011. human emissions triggered it by thinning the ozone. the result is increased radiation from the sun and the result from that is heat absorption into the earth. the result from that is melting ice cap's and I believe it's final result is either severe atmospheric depletion and the earth sizzles from the suns radiation or an ice age could happen but is unlikely. it's looking like the end result is severe atmospheric depletion. all the understudies of global warming have revealed at times that there was reflective material high in the atmosphere causing the suns radiation to be deflected back into space and now it seems as there is too much of it heating up the earth. natural pollutants from volcano's seem to dampen the excessive radiation from the sun. on the other end of the spectrum it seems increased radiation from the sun caused the volcano's to awaken from heat expansion of the earth's crust causing it to crack apart allowing the magma to escape. so it seems as though the earth has its natural fluctuation when it feels excessive radiation from the sun. although one human life time will not see the ozone replenished, that will likely take thousands of yearsif people can lower their emission's and human polutant's

  • David Nutzuki - 2011-09-19 21:55

    The powers of climate change can kill planets with catastrophic climate crisis and unstoppable warming , yet it has it's a$$ kicked by oceans and La Nina and this vast power of climate change is so shy that it hides in far off places like the polar caps, deep in oceans and jungles and mountain tops. And why are there more climatologists than climate blame demonstrators and marching protesters anyways. Let’s see some commitment so we don’t suspect exaggeration. Remember, it’s not WHAT is being said, it’s WHO is saying it? How many climatologists does it take to change a light bulb? None. BUT they DO have consensus that it WILL change.

  • David Nutzuki - 2011-09-20 14:29

    We must trust the science, the scientists, climatologists, the experts and those who know more than us. It's not WHAT is being said, it's WHO is saying it! We have seen the signs all around us and change is everywhere and our planet is weak and needs our help to bring it back to life otherwise our children will die a CO2 death. Those who do not see the changes are blind to the truth and the planet will deal with them in its own way. The good politicians who promise to lower the seas and make the planet colder if we pay a tax on the air’s CO2 will help the carbon trading markets (run by corporations and the good politicians), do what’s in our best interests and we must trust them and do as they say or life as we know it will cease. We owe it to our children. Let’s do it for our children’s sake.

  • David Nutzuki - 2011-09-20 14:29

    Do less, have less, want less, use less, be less and all will be well again. The evil oil companies have been giving bribe checks to all the deniers and in the name of love they must be eliminated for the betterment of all. Catastrophic climate change crisis and unstoppable warming is our fault and now we must pay the price of robbing the planet of its resources and as the oceans acidify and the ozone hole grows wider and the acid rain and Y2K continue to ravage us, the planet will look at us in shame and punish us for the rest of our days. The two faced bible thumping republicans stand in our way and with the planet willing; we will prevail and defeat those who would harm our creator, the plant Earth. Earth is our Mother, our Creator, our Ruler and we must obey her.

  • David Nutzuki - 2011-09-20 14:29

    ALGORE is my shepherd; I shall not think. He maketh me lie down in Greenzi pastures: He leadeth me beside the still-freezing waters. He selleth my soul for CO2: He leadeth me in the paths of self-righteousness for his own sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of reason, I will fear no logic: for thou art with me and thinking for me; Thy Gore’s family oil fortune and thy 10,000 square Gorey foot mansion, they comfort me. Thou preparest a movie in the presence of contradictory evidence: Thou anointest mine head with nonsense; my fear runneth over. Surely blind faith and hysteria shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of ALGORE forever.

  • David Nutzuki - 2011-09-20 14:30

    Our Pledge: We must trust the carbon trading markets and corporations and politicians to manage the temperature of the planet. We must call it consensus even though all of the thousands of consensus scientists all have their own special, personal and unique views of CO2 climate crisis. We must trust the good and trustworthy politicians who promise to lower the seas and make the weather colder by taxing the air. We must continue to believe in climate change crisis despite Obama not even mentioning the crisis in his state of the union address. We must believe in climate change even though the number of consensus scientists vastly outnumbers the marching climate change protesters. We must believe in climate change h e l l and spread our love for the planet as we condemn billions to a CO2 death just to make sure the kids turn the lights out more often and vote progressive when they reach voting age. We must believe even though the thousands of consensus scientists refuse to march in the streets themselves. Don't they have families to save too?

  • Gregor - 2011-12-01 19:54

    mm.. strange.. In the 70s ice age theories made the headlines: read: although this was just a few scientitst but it just goes to show we all need to keep our minds open and reasses the data, but yeah this story is just not good enough it requires proof that the earth ocean is heating up!

  • Gregor - 2011-12-01 19:54

    mm.. strange.. In the 70s ice age theories made the headlines: read: although this was just a few scientitst but it just goes to show we all need to keep our minds open and reasses the data, but yeah this story is just not good enough it requires proof that the earth ocean is heating up!

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