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Extra heat trapped inside Pacific, Indian ocean : NASA

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Washington: A layer of the Indian and Pacific oceans, between 100-300 metres below the surface, has been accumulating more heat than previously recognized, thus temporarily hiding global warming, NASA has reported.

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The study of ocean temperature measurements shows that in recent years, extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans.

According to researchers, this shifting pattern of ocean heat accounts for the slowdown in the global surface temperature trend observed during the past decade.

“Greenhouse gases continued to trap extra heat but for about 10 years starting in the early 2000s, global average surface temperature stopped climbing, and even cooled a bit, explained Josh Willis from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

During the 20th century, as greenhouse gas concentrations increased and trapped more heat energy on Earth, global surface temperatures also increased.

However, in the 21st century, this pattern seemed to change temporarily.

The study, published in the journal Science, also found that the movement of warm water has affected surface temperatures.

Researchers Veronica Nieves, Willis and Bill Patzert analysed direct ocean temperature measurements, including observations from a global network of about 3,500 ocean temperature probes known as the Argo array.

These measurements show temperatures below the surface have been increasing.

The Pacific Ocean is the primary source of the subsurface warm water found in the study, though some of that water now has been pushed to the Indian Ocean.

Since 2003, unusually strong trade winds and other climatic features have been piling up warm water in the upper 1,000 feet of the western Pacific, pinning it against Asia and Australia.

“The western Pacific got so warm that some of the warm water is leaking into the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian archipelago,” Nieves noted.

Pauses of a decade or more in Earth’s average surface temperature warming have happened before in modern times, with one occurring between the mid-1940s and late 1970s.

“In the long term, there is robust evidence of unabated global warming,” Nieves said.

(IANS)

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France Takes Steps to Shift to More Renewables For Energy

France Takes First Steps to Reduce Nuclear Energy Dependence

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France Nuclear Plant
In this picture the nuclear plant in Fessenheim, eastern France. VOA

By Lisa Bryant

France, the world’s most nuclear energy-dependent nation, is taking its first steps to shift to more renewables to power up. This is the latest news.

On Saturday, the country begins a gradual shutdown of its aging Fessenheim plant. The move fits into the government’s broader energy strategy to reduce French dependence on nuclear energy from supplying three-quarters of its electricity to about half by 2035.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says the plant’s first reactor will be closed Saturday, and the second in June.

Another dozen reactors must close by 2035 to meet the phase-down target. The plan also sees France closing its remaining coal plants, and moving to renewables like solar and wind to close the energy gap and help fight climate change. For Charlotte Mijeon, spokesperson for anti-nuclear group Sortir du nucléaire, the Fessenheim shutdown is welcome news — but not enough.

France Nuclear Plant
A sticker is photographed on a helmet of an employee of Fessenheim’s nuclear power plant opposing the closure, during a protest outside the EDF headquarters in Paris, France. VOA

“It’s great that it’s eventually closed; however, we fear that Fessenheim is something like the tree hiding the forest,” she said. “The government is closing one nuclear power plant, but it should not make us forget that the rest of the nuclear fleet is aging.”

France has 58 nuclear power plants, thanks to an energy strategy dating back to the 1970s oil crisis. Supporters say nuclear energy is a clean way to fight climate change while also meeting national energy needs.

But critics say the plants have received billions in subsidies and nuclear lobbies are powerful, making it harder for renewables to compete. And they say the remaining plants pose mounting safety concerns as they age.

“Regarding the climate emergency, we have no time left,” Mijeon said. “So we have to invest in green climate solutions, not in nuclear power, which is not only dirty, but also very expensive and slow.”

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While the reactor shutdown is a first for France, other countries, including Switzerland, Sweden and the United States, have also shut plants for a mix of budgetary, safety and environmental reasons. Neighboring Germany aims to phase out of nuclear power completely by 2022. It has been pushing for years for the shutdown of Fessenheim, which is located near its border. (VOA)