Ocean heat uptake efficiency increase since 1970

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1029/2022GL100215. This is version 1 of this Preprint.


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B. B. Cael


The ocean stores the bulk of anthropogenic heat in the Earth system. The ocean heat uptake efficiency (OHUE) -- the flux of heat into the ocean per degree of global warming -- is therefore a key factor in how much warming will occur in the coming decades. In climate models, OHUE is well-characterised, tending to decrease on centennial timescales; in contrast, OHUE is not well-constrained from Earth observations. Here OHUE and its rate of change are diagnosed from global temperature and ocean heat content records. OHUE increased over the past five decades by 0.19$\pm$0.04 W/m$^2$K, and was on average 0.58$\pm$0.08 W/m$^2$K during this period. This increase is attributed to steepening anthropogenic heat gradients in the ocean, and corresponds to several years' difference in when temperature targets such as 1.5$^\circ$C or 2$^\circ$C are exceeded.




Earth Sciences, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics



Published: 2022-09-21 18:14

Last Updated: 2022-09-22 01:14


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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