Subtropical North Atlantic. Credit: Marie-Jose Messiah

Most of the “excess heat” accumulated in the subtropical North Atlantic is in the deep ocean (below 700 m), new research suggests.


The oceans have absorbed about 90% of the warming caused by humans. The study found that in the subtropical North Atlantic (25 ° N) 62% of warming from 1850-2018 falls on the deep oceans.

Scientists from the Universities of Exeter and Brest believe that in the next 50 years the deep ocean will warm up by another 0.2 ° C.

Ocean warming can have a number of consequences, including sea ​​level risechanging ecosystems, currents and chemistry, and deoxidation.

“As our planet warms up, it’s important to understand how this happens excess heat absorbed by the ocean is redistributed in the interior of the ocean from the surface to the bottom, and it is important to consider the depth of the ocean to assess the growth of the Earth’s “energy imbalance,” said Dr. Marie-Jose Messiah of the University of Exeter.

“Apart from the fact that our research shows how this happens, besides the fact that the deep ocean contains most of this excess heat ocean currents redistribute heat to different regions.

“We found that this redistribution was a key factor in warming in the North Atlantic.”

The researchers studied a system of currents known as the Atlantic Meridian Transverse Circulation (AMOC).

AMOC works like a conveyor belt, carrying over warm water from the northern tropics, where colder, denser water sinks in deep ocean and is slowly spreading south.

The results underscore the importance of transferring AMOC warming from one region to another.

Dr Messias said that the excess heat from the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere was becoming important in the North Atlantic – it now accounts for about a quarter of the excess heat.

The study used temperature records and chemical “tracers” – compounds whose composition can be used to detect past changes in the ocean.

A paper published in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environmentis entitled: “Redistribution of anthropogenic excess heat is a key factor in global warming.”


The nonlinear effect of wind on the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean


Additional information:
Redistribution of anthropogenic excess heat is a key factor in warming in the North Atlantic, Communications Earth and Environment (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s43247-022-00443-4

Citation: Deep ocean warming from climate change (2022, May 17) obtained May 17, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-05-deep-ocean-climate.html

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