NASA-MIT study evaluates efficiency of oceans as heat sink, atmospheric gases sponge

Watts Up With That?

Feature | June 13, 2017

From NASA

NASA-MIT study evaluates efficiency of oceans as heat sink, atmospheric gases sponge

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

By Ellen Gray,
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

The world’s oceans are like brakes slowing down the full effects of greenhouse gas warming of the atmosphere. Over the last ten years, one-fourth of human-emissions of carbon dioxide as well as 90 percent of additional warming due to the greenhouse effect have been absorbed by the oceans. Acting like a massive sponge, the oceans pull from the atmosphere heat, carbon dioxide and other gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons, oxygen and nitrogen and store them in their depths for decades to centuries and millennia.

New NASA research is one of the first studies to estimate how much and how quickly the ocean absorbs atmospheric gases and contrast it with the efficiency of heat absorption. Using two computer…

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