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Since 1993, oceanographers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have carried out regularly expeditions to the Greenland Sea on board the research ice breaker Polarstern to investigate the changes in this region. The programme has always included extensive temperature and salinity measurements. For the present study, the AWI scientists have combined these long term data set with historical observations dating back to the year 1950. The result of their analysis: In the last thirty years, the water temperature between 2000 metres depth and the sea floor has risen by 0.3 degrees centigrade.
'This sounds like a small number, but we need to see this in relation to the large mass of water that has been warmed' says the AWI scientist and lead author of the study, Dr. Raquel Somavilla Cabrillo. 'The amount of heat accumulated within the lowest 1.5 kilometres in the abyssal Greenland Sea would warm the atmosphere above Europe by 4 degrees centigrade. The Greenland Sea is just a small part of the global ocean. However, the observed increase of 0.3 degrees in the deep Greenland Sea is ten times higher than the temperature increase in the global ocean on average. For this reason, this area and the remaining less studied polar oceans need to be taken into consideration'.
If it is considered that a solar energy of 1369 watts per square metre hits the outer periphery of our atmosphere per second and 30 per cent of this is reflected, this change in relationship to the overall area of our planet is only 0.1 watts per square metre, i.e. just about three tenths per thousand. It creates a change in temperature of only a few hundredths of a degree and accordingly is not sufficient to explain the current climate fluctuations alone.
For this reason the IPCC Report also states very clearly that the natural fluctuations of the Sun account for only around five per cent of the temperature change.
If we consider the global annual temperature data, we can see that we have not had a “normal year” since 1978. “Normal“ means that the annual average temperature is commensurate with the average values of the years from 1950 to 1980.
There is medium confidence from reconstructions that summer sea ice retreat and increase in sea surface temperatures in the Arctic over the past three decades are anomalous in the perspective of at least the last 2,000 years
Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology
In recent years, the increase in near-surface global annual mean temperatures has emerged as considerably smaller than many had expected. We investigate whether this can be explained by contemporary climate change scenarios.
In contrast to earlier analyses for a ten-year period that indicated consistency between models and observations at the 5% confidence level, we find that the continued warming stagnation over fifteen years, from 1998 -2012, is no longer consistent with model projections even at the 2% confidence level.