The missing heat – how our oceans act as heat sinks

  • Climate change critics often deny the scale of impact by pointing to the relatively ‘flat’ temperature trend of the last decade. New research has found that the Earth’s deep oceans absorb vast quantities of heat, possibly buffering the short-term warming an increase in greenhouse emissions may have on surface temperatures.
  • This work sheds light on the mystery of ‘missing’ heat and its poor correlation with surface temperatures. Researchers caution that the ocean is not a permanent heat sink and buffering affects are cyclical.

Research provides decision makers with more evidence to understand the scope and severity of human- induced climate change. As the complexities of the climate are revealed, the impetus to mitigate greenhouse emissions may become increasingly important.

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