MONDAY, MAY 8 - HAS THE OCEAN WARMED?


A problem for researchers studying global warming involves computer predictions. Most computer climate models actually predicted more warming than has been observed over the last century. One reason suggested for the discrepancy is that some of the extra heat was going into the oceans, reducing the warming of the air. But this theory has been hard to check until now.

Recently, millions of previously unavailable ocean measurements were analyzed. And it turns out that over the last 40 years or so, the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans warmed, on average, about one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit.

Now, a tenth of a degree doesn't sound like much. But if you took just a fraction of the energy needed to warm all that ocean water by one-tenth of a degree, and put that energy in the air, you would get a significant warming. By taking in this extra energy, the oceans are likely delaying warming that otherwise would occur in the atmosphere.

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