Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wind Patterns Could Mask Effects Of Global Warming In Ocean

Date:
February 15, 2008
Source:
University of Liverpool
Summary:
Natural variability in the Earth's atmosphere could be masking the overall effect of global warming in the North Atlantic Ocean. Scientists have previously found that surface temperatures around the globe have risen over the last 30 years in accord with global warming. New data, however, shows that heat stored in the North Atlantic Ocean has a more complex pattern than initially expected, suggesting that natural changes in the atmosphere also play a role.

NOAA satellite image of a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. In this phase, the North Atlantic jet stream is shifted south of normal over the eastern U.S., and the upstream polar jet stream coming southward from Canada is stronger than normal. In contrast, the positive phase of the NAO features a northward shift of the North Atlantic jet stream pattern over the eastern U.S., and a reduced flow of cold air from Canada.
Credit: NOAA

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that natural variability in the earth's atmosphere could be masking the overall effect of global warming in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists have previously found that surface temperatures around the globe have risen over the last 30 years in accord with global warming. New data, however, shows that heat stored in the North Atlantic Ocean has a more complex pattern than initially expected, suggesting that natural changes in the atmosphere also play a role.

The Liverpool team, in collaboration with the University of Duke in the US, analysed 50 years of North Atlantic temperature records and used computer models to assess how the warming and cooling pattern was controlled. They found that the tropics and mid-latitudes have warmed, while the sub-polar regions have cooled.

Professor Ric Williams, from the University's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, explains: "We found that changes in the heat stored in the North Atlantic corresponded to changes in natural and cyclical winds above the North Atlantic. This pattern of wind movement is called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which is linked to pressure differences in the atmosphere between Iceland and The Azores.

"The computer model we used to analyse our data helped us to predict how wind and heat exchange with the atmosphere affects the North Atlantic Ocean's heat content over time. We found that the warming over the mid latitudes was due to the wind redistributing heat, while the gain in heat in the tropics and loss in heat at high latitudes was due to an exchange of heat with the atmosphere.

"These local changes in heat storage are typically 10 times larger than any global warming trend. We now need to look at why changes are occurring in wind circulation, as this in itself could be linked to global warming effects."

Although natural variability appears to be masking global warming effects in the ocean, scientists still believe that global warming is occurring, as evident through a wide range of independent signals such as rising surface and atmospheric temperatures, reduced Arctic summer sea ice and the reduced extent of many glaciers showing changes in the environment.

The research is published in Science. This study was jointly supported by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the US National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Liverpool. "Wind Patterns Could Mask Effects Of Global Warming In Ocean." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207101333.htm>.
University of Liverpool. (2008, February 15). Wind Patterns Could Mask Effects Of Global Warming In Ocean. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207101333.htm
University of Liverpool. "Wind Patterns Could Mask Effects Of Global Warming In Ocean." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207101333.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

AP (July 25, 2014) Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe toured the Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort on the Chesapeake Bay today, a day after it was hit by a tornado. The storm claimed two lives and injured dozens of others. (July 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins