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Trade winds spur hiatus in global warming: Australian-led report

Published on Feb 10, 2014 3:40 PM
 
A worker of SABESP, a Brazilian enterprise of Sao Paulo state, that provides water and sewage services to residential, commercial and industrial areas walks through a dry Jaguary dam as a result of a long drought period that hit the state of Sao Paulo in Braganca Paulista, 100 km from Sao Paulo, Jan 31, 2014. An unprecedented spike in Pacific trade winds has seen global warming slow significantly in the past 12 years but the effect is only temporary and temperatures will surge, a study found on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (AFP) - An unprecedented spike in Pacific trade winds has seen global warming slow significantly in the past 12 years but the effect is only temporary and temperatures will surge, a study found on Monday.

The Australian-led report, published in the latest edition of Nature Climate Change, said a dramatic acceleration in equatorial trade winds blowing from the Americas to the West Pacific had boosted circulation of the ocean.

"If the trade winds blow particularly strong, that warm water that's piled up there starts to converge in the ocean interior," said lead author Matthew England.

"In a way it's locking away energy we've obtained from greenhouse gas into the subsurface ocean and that's what causes the hiatus (in global warming)." The study examined a pause in global warming since 2001 along with a previous such stall between 1940-75 and identified a close link to negative phases of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) - a wind pattern associated with a cool tropical Pacific and strengthened winds.

 
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