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Oceans slowed down global warming: Study

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Washington: In the recent years, extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the subsurface waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans accounting for the slowdown in the global surface temperature increase observed during the past decade, shows a study.

The climate researchers from University of California, Los Angeles and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory found the movement of warm water has affected surface temperatures.

“The western Pacific got so warm that some of the warm water is leaking into the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian archipelago,” said lead author Veronica Nieves and a researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles.

During the 20th century, as greenhouse gas concentration increased and trapped more heat on the Earth, global surface temperatures also increased, said the study that appeared in the journal Science.

However, starting in the early 2000s, though greenhouse gases continued to trap extra heat, the global average surface temperature stopped rising for about a decade and in fact cooled a bit.

Researchers 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 movement of the warm Pacific water westward pulled heat away from the surface waters of the central and eastern Pacific, which resulted in unusually cool surface temperatures during the last decade.

“Because the air temperature over the ocean is closely related to the ocean temperature, this provides a plausible explanation for the global cooling trend in surface temperature,” Nieves said.

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.

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InSight Spacecraft of NASA Reaches Halfway to Mars

The camera will take the first image of Elysium Planitia minutes after InSight touches down on Mars in November

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NASA's InSight spacecraft crosses halfway mark to Mars. Pixabay

NASA’s InSight spacecraft that is en route to Mars, has passed the halfway mark to its destination and all its instruments are working well, the US space agency said.

InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.

The spacecraft, which crossed the halfway mark on August 6 is expected to land on Mars on November 26 to study the Red Planet’s deep interior, NASA said in a statement on Monday.

The spacecraft has now covered 277 million km since its launch 107 days ago and in another 98 days, it will travel another 208 million km and touch down in Mars’ Elysium Planitia region.

Earlier the lander’s launch and landing were scheduled around Mars’ closest approach to Earth that occurred on July 31.

However, it was delayed by the Martian storm that has engulfed the Planet and has cut off communication with another NASA robot, the Mars rover Opportunity.

NASA
InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. (IANS)

NASA engineers used this long travel time to plan, activate and check spacecraft subsystems vital to cruise, landing and surface operations, including the highly sensitive science instruments, the statement said.

The instruments aboard the spacecraft include a seismometer, which will be used to detect quakes on Mars, and a self-hammering probe that will measure the amount of heat escaping from the planet’s interior.

It also has cameras to take a “selfie” of the mission’s equipment.

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“If you are an engineer on InSight, that first glimpse of the heat shield blanket, harness tie-downs and cover bolts is a very reassuring sight as it tells us our Instrument Context Camera is operating perfectly. The next picture we plan to take with this camera will be of the surface of Mars,” said Tom Hoffman, InSight Project Manager from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

The camera will take the first image of Elysium Planitia minutes after InSight touches down on Mars in November. (IANS)

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