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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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NASA Curiosity Rover Gets its Drilling Groove Back on Mars

It lets Curiosity drill using the force of its robotic arm, a little more like the way a human would drill into a wall at home

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NASA Curiosity Rover Gets its Drilling Groove Back on Mars
NASA Curiosity Rover Gets its Drilling Groove Back on Mars. Pixabay

After a mechanical problem took NASA Mars rover Curiosity’s drill offline in December 2016, it has now successfully tested a new drilling method on the Red Planet, making a 50-millimetre deep hole in a target called “Duluth”, NASA has said.

Engineers working with the Curiosity Mars rover have been hard at work testing a new way for the rover to drill rocks and extract powder from them.

On May 20, that effort produced the first drilled sample on Mars in more than a year, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday.

The new technique, called Feed Extended Drilling, keeps the drill’s bit extended out past two stabiliser posts that were originally used to steady the drill against Martian rocks.

It lets Curiosity drill using the force of its robotic arm, a little more like the way a human would drill into a wall at home.

“The team used tremendous ingenuity to devise a new drilling technique and implement it on another planet,” said Curiosity Deputy Project Manager Steve Lee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Those are two vital inches of innovation from 60 million miles away. We’re thrilled that the result was so successful,” Lee said.

Drilling is a vitally important part of Curiosity’s capabilities to study Mars.

Inside the rover are two laboratories that are able to conduct chemical and mineralogical analyses of rock and soil samples.

The samples are acquired from Gale Crater, which the rover has been exploring since 2012.

“We’ve been developing this new drilling technique for over a year, but our job isn’t done once a sample has been collected on Mars,” said JPL’s Tom Green, a systems engineer who helped develop and test Curiosity’s new drilling method.

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“With each new test, we closely examine the data to look for improvements we can make and then head back to our test bed to iterate on the process.”

There’s also the next step to work on — delivering the rock sample from the drill bit to the two laboratories inside the rover.

As soon as this Friday, the Curiosity team will test a new process for delivering samples into the rover’s laboratories, NASA said. (IANS)

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