(p. A19) Scientists have long known that sea surface temperatures are lower when strong winds whip up ocean waves, and higher when the seas are calm. Researchers generally have assumed that the phenomenon was but one factor in that warming, and that increased levels of carbon dioxide from human activity play a major role in driving rising temperatures.
But the new analysis, which relies on wind, barometric pressure and temperature data recorded from 1900 to 2012, concludes that human activity has little impact.
“The concept of winds controlling or affecting ocean temperature in that very way is not controversial, but the strength of that relationship was quite amazing” in the northwestern Pacific, said James Johnstone, a climatologist and the study’s lead author. “It explains practically every wiggle in the ocean temperature variations. It’s a phenomenal correlation.”
For the full story, see:
MICHAEL WINES. “Human Role in Warming of Northwest Played Down.” The New York Times (Tues., SEPT. 23, 2014): A19.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date SEPT. 22, 2014.)
The Johnstone paper, summarized above, is:
Johnstone, James A., and Nathan J. Mantua. “Atmospheric Controls on Northeast Pacific Temperature Variability and Change, 1900-2012.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published online before print, September 22, 2014, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1318371111.