Environment: Climate study

Oslo, Norway - Climate change could get worse quickly if huge amounts of extra heat absorbed by the oceans are released back into the air, scientists said after unveiling new research showing that oceans have helped mitigate the effects of warming since 2000.

Heat-trapping gases are being emitted into the atmosphere faster than ever, and the 10 hottest years since records began have all taken place since 1998. But the rate at which the earth's surface is heating up has slowed somewhat since 2000, causing scientists to search for an explanation for the pause.

Experts in France and Spain said on Sunday that the oceans took up more warmth from the air around 2000. That would help explain the slowdown in surface warming but would also suggest that the pause may be only temporary and brief.

"Most of this excess energy was absorbed in the top 700 meters (2,300 ft) of the ocean at the onset of the warming pause, 65 percent of it in the tropical Pacific and Atlantic oceans," they wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Lead author Virginie Guemas of the Catalan Institute of Climate Sciences in Barcelona said the hidden heat may return to the atmosphere in the next decade, stoking warming again.
"If it is only related to natural variability then the rate of warming will increase soon," she told Reuters.

Caroline Katsman of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, an expert who was not involved in the latest study, said heat absorbed by the ocean will come back into the atmosphere if it is part of an ocean cycle such as the "El Niño" warming and "La Niña" cooling events in the Pacific.

She said the study broadly confirmed earlier research by her institute but that it was unlikely to be the full explanation of the warming pause at the surface, since it only applied to the onset of the slowdown around 2000.

The pace of climate change has big economic implications since almost 200 governments agreed in 2010 to limit surface warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial levels, mainly by shifting from fossil fuels.

Surface temperatures have already risen by 0.8 C. Two degrees is widely seen as a threshold for dangerous changes such as more droughts, mudslides, floods, and rising sea levels.

Some governments, and skeptics that man-made climate change is a big problem, argue that the slowdown in the rising trend shows less urgency to act. Governments have agreed to work out, by the end of 2015, a global deal to combat climate change.

Last year was ninth warmest since records began in the 1850s, according to the UN's World Meteorological Organization, and 2010 was the warmest, just ahead of 1998. Apart from 1998, the 10 hottest years have all been since 2000.

Guemas' study, twinning observations and computer models, showed that natural La Niña weather events in the Pacific around the year 2000 brought cool waters to the surface that absorbed more heat from the air. In another set of natural variations, the Atlantic also soaked up more heat.
"Global warming is continuing but it's being manifested in somewhat different ways," said Kevin Trenberth, of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. Warming can go, for instance, to the air, water, land, or to melting ice and snow.

Warmth is spreading to ever deeper ocean levels, he said, adding that pauses in surface warming could last 15-20 years.

"Recent warming rates of the waters below 700 meters appear to be unprecedented," he and colleagues wrote in a study last month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The UN panel of climate scientists says it is at least 90 percent certain that human activities - rather than natural variations in the climate - are the main cause of warming in recent decades.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Pagasa expects stronger cyclones to hit Phl this year
    Pagasa expects stronger cyclones to hit Phl this year

    The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recently warned Filipinos to brace for stronger cyclones this year due to the El Niño phenomenon. “In terms of (the El Niño’s effect on tropical cyclones), we expect that more cyclones will reach the typhoon category, which is 118 kilometers per hour,” Flaviana Hilario, PAGASA deputy administrator for research and development, said. Hilario said the abnormal warming of the sea during an El Niño may …

  • US warns China vs ‘throwing elbows’
    US warns China vs ‘throwing elbows’

    Obama, in a discussion at the White House with a group of young leaders from Southeast Asian nations, said land reclamation projects in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea were unproductive and called for an end to aggressive actions by all parties concerned. “China is going to be successful. In Vietnam, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the US is not looking to militarize or escalate the situation in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea where China and five other …

  • Phl, Japan to discuss military equipment transfer
    Phl, Japan to discuss military equipment transfer

    Japan and the Philippines will likely agree on the start of talks to sign an accord over the transfer of defense equipment, as both countries seek to strengthen cooperation amid the rise of an assertive China, Japanese government sources said Sunday. The agreement may be finalized when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Aquino meet in Tokyo tomorrow as arrangements are also made for both leaders to express concern over China’s attempts to change the status quo at sea, the sources added. …

  • PNR test run set next week
    PNR test run set next week

    The Philippine National Railways (PNR) will conduct test run next week to ensure the safety of the train service prior to the resumption of its operations on June 15, an official said yesterday. PNR spokesman Paul de Quiros said test runs were set on June 9 and 10. PNR operations were suspended last month following the derailment of a southbound train near Nichols station in Makati City, which injured close to 50 passengers. …

  • CPP-NPA leader nabbed in Cavite
    CPP-NPA leader nabbed in Cavite

    Government security forces arrested an alleged second highest leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and two others in Bacoor, Cavite Monday night. Adelberto Silva was arrested by military and police operatives at his home in Barangay Molino 5 at past 11 p.m., Army spokesman Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato said. Aside from Silva, arrested were his common-law wife Sharon Ronquillo and Isidro de Lima, who were also said to be members of the communist movement. …

  • Facebook launches artificial intelligence center in Paris

    Close to midnight in the Philippines, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the opening of a research center in Paris, France, dedicated to artificial intelligence research. "One of our long term initiatives is to build a new generation of internet services that are more intuitive and can more easily connect you with the things you care about by understanding the meaning of voice, text, images, videos and other information," Zuckerberg said in his status update. "Our new Paris team will …

  • Fallout 4 countdown timer officially begins

    The long wait for Fallout fans may be finally over, as the official Bethesda website has set up a timer that is already ticking down to what may be the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT players have long been waiting for: Fallout 4. The countdown timer was unveiled at precisely 9 p.m. Philippine Time. Click here to visit the Fallout 4 official website and countdown timer. …

  • Taiwan, Philippines coastguards in brief stand-off despite work on pact

    TAIPEI/MANILA (Reuters) - Coastguard ships from Taiwan and the Philippines confronted each other in rich fishing waters south of Taiwan last week, officials from the two sides said, in an incident that comes as they are working on a pact to resolve maritime disputes. In 2013, Taiwan recalled its envoy to the Philippines, froze work permit applications and ordered military exercises in waters between the two sides to press for an apology for the shooting death of a Taiwan fisherman in waters …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options