Southern Ocean turned out to be the main absorber of excess heat on the planet

(ORDO NEWS) — Australian scientists have created a global ocean circulation model to estimate the rate of warming over the past 50 years.

The results showed that the heating of the waters proceeds unevenly, according to Nature Communications.

It is known that the oceans contribute to slowing down global warming. It absorbs about 40% of carbon dioxide emissions and about 90% of excess heat generated by human activities.

A new study has found that some oceans absorb heat more actively than others. The Southern Ocean dominates in the absorption of excess heat, although it occupies only 15% of the total area of ​​water resources.

“In fact, the Southern Ocean alone may account for virtually all of the ocean’s global heat uptake,” the text of the article says.

The Pacific and Atlantic basins also absorb heat, but “give” it back to the atmosphere.

Scientists have associated this phenomenon with the geographical location of the Southern Ocean. The strong westerly winds that surround Antarctica blow a great distance, continuously raising masses of cold water to the surface.

Cold streams follow north, easily absorbing heat from a warmer atmosphere. At about 45-55° South latitude (the strip of latitude south of Tasmania, New Zealand and the southern regions of South America), excess heat goes inland.

The study says that the warming of the Southern Ocean has led to changes in the total ocean heat content around the world over the past half century. And these changes are irreversible, at least on the scale of human time.

It takes several millennia for the heat from the deep ocean to get back into the atmosphere. This means that the changes that have taken place now will be felt for generations to come.

And the consequences will worsen if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, climate scientists have warned.

By 2100, the heat content of the Southern Ocean is predicted to increase sevenfold. This will have a negative impact on both local marine ecosystems and the climate of the planet as a whole.


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