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Anthropogenic aerosols offsetting ocean warming less efficiently since the 1980s

Sohail, T., Irving, D. B., Zika, J. D. and Gregory, J. M. (2023) Anthropogenic aerosols offsetting ocean warming less efficiently since the 1980s. Geophysical Research Letters, 50 (23). e2023GL105374. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2023GL105374


Greenhouse gases and aerosols play a major role in controlling global climate change. Greenhouse gases drive a radiative imbalance which warms the ocean, while aerosols cool the ocean. Since 1980, the effective radiation felt by the planet due to anthropogenic aerosols has leveled off, global ocean cooling due to aerosols has decelerated, and greenhouse gas-driven ocean warming has accelerated. We explore the deceleration of aerosol-driven ocean cooling by quantifying a time- and spatially varying ocean heat uptake efficiency, defined as the change in the rate of global ocean heat storage per degree of cooling surface temperature. In aerosol-only simulations, ocean heat uptake efficiency has decreased by 43 ± 14% since 1980. The tropics and sub-tropics have driven this decrease, while the coldest fraction of the ocean continues to sustain cooling and high ocean heat uptake efficiency. Our results identify a growing trend toward less efficient ocean cooling due to aerosols.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
ID Code:114055
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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