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Ocean Slowing Warming
By Matt J. Weiss, February 4, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Dailyutahchronicle.com
Instead of obsessing about the roots and causes of global warming, the public should focus on the role the ocean plays in climate change and how large bodies of water can actually act as heat regulators, said Marcia McNutt.

McNutt, who is the president and CEO of the Monteray Bay Aquarium Research Institute, talked about the correlations between the changing climate and the oceans in the Aline Wilmot Skaggs Auditorium on Wednesday. The institute, where she has worked for more than 10 years, is the "NASA of the oceans," she said, where among other things, researchers develop real-time ways to monitor events in the oceans.

During the lecture, McNutt said even though oceans comprise 71 percent of the planet and 97 percent of the Earth's surface, it is easy for the public to be consumed by issues of climate change and possible theories that might impact global warming without thinking about how climate change and the oceans affect each other.

Oceans are the largest modulators of global climate change and in turn, they are critically impacted by long-term changes in the weather, she said. The burning of fossil fuels is releasing too much carbon dioxide and increasing the green house effect, which is warming the planet. However, if it weren't for the oceans, climate change would affect the Earth in a larger way, McNutt said.

"The fact that we haven't seen more warming up to the present is thanks to the oceans," McNutt said.

The oceans are huge regulators of heat, as they move around the surface of the planet and have absorbed 30 times more heat than the atmosphere since 1955.

"So, next time you go outside and don't feel baked on a hot summer day, say, 'Thank you, ocean,' because this is what's keeping global warming from being worse than it is," McNutt said.

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