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Atlantic Ocean gobbled Earth's missing heat: Study

Posted on Aug 24 2014 | IANS

Washington, Aug 24 : Presenting a new theory about where the Earth's missing heat finally disappeared, a new research says a natural climate cycle in the north Atlantic Ocean may have gobbled the Earth's extra heat.

"It is important to distinguish between whether ocean heat storage is responsible for the hiatus versus not enough heat reaching the surface of the Earth," said atmospheric scientist Ka-Kit Tung from the University of Washington in Seattle.

The study found enough heat stored in the north and south Atlantic that, if had remained on the surface, would have resulted in rapid warming.

Earlier research focused on the Pacific Ocean for missing heat and not the Atlantic.

Oceanographer Xianyao Chen from the Ocean University of China in Qingdao and Tung said they could not find the missing heat in the Pacific temperature measurements.

The duo then reached north Atlantic.

They primarily relied on Argo floats, which record ocean temperature and salt content down to 6,560 feet.

Tung and Chen found that the north Atlantic's heat content shifted in 1999 and the ocean started absorbing heat at depths below 984 feet.

"These regions stored more heat energy than the rest of the world's oceans combined, even the enormous Pacific Ocean," researchers said.

The study appeared in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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