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Atlantic Ocean current could be responsible for slowing global temperature increase

Joe Chivers | Science Recorder | August 21, 2014

Atlantic Ocean current could be responsible for slowing global temperature increase

Since 1999, a very peculiar phenomenon has been occurring – despite carbon dioxide levels rising, the earth’s temperature has not.

Since 1999, a very peculiar phenomenon has been occurring – despite carbon dioxide levels rising, the earth’s temperature has not. The average increase per decade from 1998-2012 was 0.05 degrees centigrade, less than half of what this figure was from 1951-2012, which had an average 0.12 degrees centigrade increase per decade.

Researchers now think that the cause could be partly down to a 30-year Atlantic current, which cools and heats the world in an alternating pattern. It is thought that water from the tropics, which is both warmer and saltier, sinks faster into the deep ocean, taking heat with it. The salinity of the ocean eventually increases to the point that ice in the Arctic starts to melt, diluting the salt content, slowing down the current, and preventing warmer water from sinking, keeping the heat closer to the surface.

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