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Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 31 Issue 02

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Volume 31, No. 2
Pages 72 - 79

An Ocean View of the Global Surface Warming Hiatus

Wei Liu Shang-Ping Xie
Article Abstract

The rate of global mean surface temperature increase slowed during 1998–2012. We review oceanic changes during this global warming hiatus from different but related perspectives. In one perspective, we explore the physical mechanisms for sea surface temperature patterns and highlight the role of natural variability, particularly the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) that both have chaotic/random phases. In the other perspective, we investigate how the hiatus relates to changes in energy fluxes at the top of the atmosphere and to the three-dimensional distribution of ocean heat content change on decadal time­scales. We find that the recent surface warming hiatus is associated with a transition of the IPO from a positive to negative phase and with heat redistribution between the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans. The AMO has shifted to a positive phase since the late 1990s, inducing a La Niña-type response over the tropical Pacific via a tropic-wide teleconnection, contributing to the global warming hiatus.

Citation

Liu, W., and S.-P. Xie. 2018. An ocean view of the global surface warming hiatus. Oceanography 31(2):72–79, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2018.217.

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