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News Picks : Pacific trade winds help slow global warming

By: Physics Today
10 February 2014
New Scientist: Over the past decade, despite increasing amounts of atmospheric greenhouse gases, Earth’s global average surface air temperature has remained more or less steady. To try to understand why, Matthew England of the University of New South Wales in Australia and colleagues looked at the effect of trade winds in the Pacific Ocean, which have intensified markedly over the past two decades. The researchers factored the winds into a global temperature model and found that the winds cause warmer water near the ocean’s surface to sink, which allows cooler water to come to the surface. But the winds won’t continue to blow indefinitely, and when they die down, Earth could potentially experience a period of rapid warming.


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