Temperature fluctuations: Atlantic Ocean dances with the sun and volcanoes

Temperature fluctuations: Atlantic Ocean dances with the sun and volcanoes

Natural fluctuations in the ocean temperature in the North Atlantic have a significant impact on the climate in the northern hemisphere. These fluctuations are the result of a complex dance between the forces of nature, but researchers can now show that solar activity and the impact of volcanic eruptions have led this dance during the last two centuries.

via All Top News — ScienceDaily:

Natural fluctuations in the ocean temperature in the North Atlantic have a significant impact on the climate in the northern hemisphere. These fluctuations are the result of a complex dance between the forces of nature, but researchers at Aarhus University can now show that solar activity and the impact of volcanic eruptions have led this dance during the last two centuries.Imagine a ballroom in which two dancers apparently keep in time to their own individual rhythm. The two partners suddenly find themselves moving to the same rhythm and, after a closer look, it is clear to see which one is leading.It was an image like this that researchers at Aarhus University were able to see when they compared studies of solar energy release and volcanic activity during the last 450 years, with reconstructions of ocean temperature fluctuations during the same period.The results actually showed that during the last approximately 250 years — since the period known as the Little Ice Age — a clear correlation can be seen where the external forces, i.e. the Sun’s energy cycle and the impact of volcanic eruptions, are accompanied by a corresponding temperature fluctuation with a time lag of about five years.In the previous two centuries, i.e. during the Little Ice Age, the link was not as strong, and the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean appears to have followed its own rhythm to a greater extent.The results were recently published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.In addition to filling in yet another piece of the puzzle associated with understanding the complex interaction of the natural forces that control the climate, the Danish researchers paved the way for linking the two competing interpretations of the origin of the oscillation phenomenon.Temperature fluctuations discovered around the turn of the millenniumThe climate is defined on the basis of data including mean temperature values recorded over a period of thirty years. Northern Europe thus has a warm and humid climate compared with other regions on the same latitudes. This is due to the North Atlantic Drift (often referred to as the Gulf Stream), an ocean current that transports relatively warm water from the south-west part of the North Atlantic to the sea off the coast of Northern Europe.Around the turn of the millennium, however, climate researchers became aware that the average temperature of the Atlantic Ocean was not entirely stable, but actually fluctuated at the same rate throughout the North Atlantic. This phenomenon is called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which consists of relatively warm periods lasting thirty to forty years being replaced by cool periods of the same duration. The researchers were able to read small systematic variations in the water temperature in the North Atlantic in measurements taken by ships during the last 140 years.Although the temperature fluctuations are small — less than 1C — there is a general consensus among climate researchers that the AMO phenomenon has had a major impact on the climate in the area around the North Atlantic for thousands of years, but until now there has been doubt about what could cause this slow rhythm in the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean. One model explains the phenomenon as internal variability in the ocean circulation — somewhat like a bathtub sloshing water around in its own rhythm. …

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All Top News — ScienceDaily

Temperature fluctuations: Atlantic Ocean dances with the sun and volcanoes

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