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  • AchutaRao, K.M., M. Ishii, B.D. Santer, P.J. Gleckler, K.E. Taylor, T.P. Barnett, D.W. Pierce, R.J. Stouffer, and T.M.L. Wigley, 2007: Simulated and observed variability in ocean temperature and heat content. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Sciences, 104, 10.1073/pnas.0611373104.

Observations show both a pronounced increase in ocean heat content (OHC) over the second half of the 20th century and substantial OHC variability on interannual-to-decadal time scales. Although climate models are able to simulate overall changes in OHC, they are generally thought to underestimate the amplitude of OHC variability. Using simulations of 20th century climate performed with 13 numerical models, we demonstrate that the apparent discrepancy between modeled and observed variability is largely explained by accounting for changes in observational coverage and instrumentation and by including the effects of volcanic eruptions. Our work does not support the recent claim that the 0- to 700-m layer of the global ocean experienced a substantial OHC decrease over the 2003 to 2005 time period. We show that the 2003-2005 cooling is largely an artifact of a systematic change in the observing system, with the deployment of Argo floats reducing a warm bias in the original observing system.


Full Article: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0611375104v1

Last Updated: 2007-07-18

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