OSLO, Apr. 7, 2013 (Reuters) — Climate change could get worse quickly if huge amounts of extra heat absorbed by the oceans are released back into the air, scientists said after unveiling new research showing that oceans have helped mitigate the effects of warming since 2000.
Heat-trapping gases are being emitted into the atmosphere faster than ever, and the 10 hottest years since records began have all taken place since 1998. But the rate at which the earth’s surface is heating up has slowed somewhat since 2000, causing scientists to search for an explanation for the pause.
Experts in France and Spain said on Sunday that the oceans took up more warmth from the air around 2000. That would help explain the slowdown in surface warming but would also suggest that the pause may be only temporary and brief.
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