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Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 23;5:14346. doi: 10.1038/srep14346.

Distinctive ocean interior changes during the recent warming slowdown.

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1
International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100029, Beijing, China.

Abstract

The earth system experiences continuous heat input, but a "climate hiatus" of upper ocean waters has been observed in this century. This leads to a question: where is the extra heat going? Using four in situ observation datasets, we explore the ocean subsurface temperature changes from 2004 to 2013. The observations all show that the ocean has continued to gain heat in this century, which is indicative of anthropogenic global warming. However, a distinctive pattern of change in the interior ocean is observed. The sea surface (1-100 m) temperature has decreased in this century, accompanied by warming in the 101-300 m layer. This pattern is due to the changes in the frequency of El Niño and La Niña events (ENSO characteristics), according to both observations and CMIP5 model simulations. In addition, we show for the first time that the ocean subsurface within 301-700 m experienced a net cooling, indicative of another instance of variability in the natural ocean. Furthermore, the ocean layer of 701-1500 m has experienced significant warming.

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