Centuries-Old Water Is Still Cooling Deep Pacific Ocean

Posted: Jan 6 2019, 10:47am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Centuries -Old Water is Still Cooling Deep Pacific Ocean
Credit: : Larry Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

New study says that deep ocean cooling is likely due to the Little Ice Age.

Researchers have found evidence that the bottom of Pacific Ocean is getting colder. This cooling is likely due to the Little Ice Age, which occurred from 1300 to 1870. The water from ocean’s surface during the Little Ice Age is now touching the bottom of the Pacific and keeping it cooler. To put it in context, the last time this water encountered sunlight was in Song Dynasty. Song Dynasty ruled China from 960 to 1279. During that time, the earth's climate was generally warm. By the end of the Medieval Warm Period, Europe's climate became more extreme and colder, now referred to as the Little Ice Age.

"These waters are so old and haven't been near the surface in so long, they still 'remember' what was going on hundreds of years ago when Europe experienced some of its coldest winters in history.” Lead author Jake Gebbie, a physical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) said in a statement.

Prior studies have suggested that it takes a very long time for water on the surface to make its way to the bottom, perhaps as long as several hundred years. To test the idea, researchers obtained data from HMS Challenger. The ship had taken Pacific Ocean temperatures down to a depth of two kilometers during the years 1872 to 1876. Then, researchers compared the HMS Challenger data to recent observations and developed a computer model to reconstruct the circulation of water in the Pacific Ocean over the past century.

"If the surface ocean was generally cooling for the better part of the last millennium, those parts of the ocean most isolated from modern warming may still be cooling.” Gebbie said.

The model showed that the Pacific Ocean cooled over the course of the 20th century at a depth of around two kilometers, suggesting that the Little Ice Age’s cold waters are still impacting deep Pacific Ocean temperature trends. But most of the ocean is responding to modern warming.

Gebbie says. "The close correspondence between the predictions and observed trends gave us confidence that this is a real phenomenon.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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