Middle Part of Pacific Ocean Warmest it's Been in 10,000 Years
Researchers report global warming has not left the Pacific Ocean unaffected, in fact, the middle depths of a part of the world's largest ocean has warmed 15 times faster in the past 60 years, compared to the previous 1,000 years.
The authors of the study, published in Science magazine, analyzed Pacific Ocean sediment cores to reconstruct quantities of heat stored at the middle depths of the western Pacific going back 10,000 years.
According to the report, which was compiled by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations-sponsored group of scientists - the bulk of human generated heat from the 1970s was created by greenhouse gas emissions which was likely absorbed by the oceans.
"Increases in ocean heat content and temperature are robust indicators of global warming during the past several decades," according to today's Science study.
"We're pumping heat into the ocean at a faster rate over the past 60 years," said study lead author Yair Rosenthal, a climate scientist at Rutgers University. "We may have underestimated the efficiency of the oceans as a storehouse for heat and energy," he added. "It may buy us some time - how much time, I don't really know. But it's not going to stop climate change."
"It's not so much the magnitude of the change, but the rate of change," noted study co-author Braddock Linsley, a Columbia University climate scientist. "We're experimenting by putting all this heat in the ocean without quite knowing how it's going to come back out and affect climate."
According to the Washington Post, a potential theory is that the moderately slow rate of surface temperatures reflects the oceans removing heat from the atmosphere.
"We may have underestimated the efficiency of the oceans as a storehouse for heat and energy," said Rosenthal. "It may buy us some time - how much time, I don't really know."