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Study: Oceans can level global warming
by Staff Writers
Boulder, Colo. (UPI) Sep 19, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Earth's oceans can absorb enough heat to keep the rate of global warming flat for a decade even in the middle of long-term warming, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research say ocean layers below 1,000 feet can hold enough of the "missing heat" to hold global air temperatures steady during these periods, and such intervals can be expected during the next century, even as the trend toward overall warming persists, an NCAR release said Monday.

"We will see global warming go through hiatus periods in the future," NCAR's Gerald Meehl, lead author of the study, said. "However, these periods would likely last only about a decade or so, and warming would then resume. This study illustrates one reason why global temperatures do not simply rise in a straight line."

While emissions of greenhouse gases continued to climb during the 2000s, air temperatures remained relatively steady from 1998 to 2010, researchers said.

"This study suggests the missing energy has indeed been buried in the ocean," NCAR researchers Kevin Trenberth said. "The heat has not disappeared, and so it cannot be ignored. It must have consequences."

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