New research found that aerosols in the atmosphere might be keeping low temporarily ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific. How’s that possible?
But such a discovery is clear evidence that the surprisingly modest warming reported in the tropical Pacific recently might be short-lived. Soon, the region could experience the worst-case scenario.
Here is what you need to know.
Aerosols Under Investigation
A team of researchers from Yale came up with a method of analyzing the aerosols in the equatorial Pacific. The findings could help climate scientists better predict how global warming will influence ecosystems, weather patterns, and storm forces throughout the Pacific rim.
Ulla Heede, a graduate student in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at Yale and the first author, released a statement:
“Understanding how the tropics are changing due to global warming is an important task for scientists to tackle because this region is a key driver of weather and climate events around the globe.”
Study insights and findings
In the new study, the team of researchers analyzed the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. The region is known for its cold water that reaches the surface, triggered by surface winds, called trade winds.
Any periodical loosening of those winds produces El Nino, a warm stage of the El Nino Southern Oscillation, and the water in the Pacific becomes unusually warm.
The researchers discovered that the atmospheric aerosols are why that region warmed less than other surrounding parts, while the tropical atmospheric circulation intensified.
According to previous findings, the aerosols arising from combustion and air pollution have a peculiar cooling effect on our planet’s climate. They also have partially removed some warming effects from greenhouse gases.
However, as intriguing as the discovery could be, researchers stated that the delay is only temporary. Soon, global warming will rise even more, and greenhouse gas emissions will further increase, becoming the predominant factor for the tropical Pacific climate. It could also trigger enhanced warming.