It’s going to be a warm one in the south…

Warm millennium, that is.  And Southern Hemisphere, that is.

New research suggests that Earth will continue to warm into the year 3000, even if human-caused carbon dioxide emissions stop right now.  According to their models, scientists predict that the Northern Hemisphere will fare much better, with the warming trend reversing within the millennium.  This is likely due to the much larger landmass in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Southern Hemisphere has much more ocean surface, which has thus far slowed the warming trend, as the ocean acts as a huge carbon dioxide and heat sink.

Shawn Marshall, Canada Research Chair in Climate Change and University of Calgary geography professor, explains this phenomenon:

“The global ocean and parts of the Southern Hemisphere have much more inertia, such that change occurs more slowly. The inertia in intermediate and deep ocean currents driving into the Southern Atlantic means those oceans are only now beginning to warm as a result of CO2 emissions from the last century. The simulation showed that warming will continue rather than stop or reverse on the 1000-year time scale.”

Does this mean certain doom for the planet?  No.  Throughout its history, Earth has had warmer periods than the one that is predicted by these models.  The Earth will be just fine.  The big question, for us humans, is how humans will fare.

Explore the role of oceans in Earth’s climate with our activity, “What will Earth’s climate be in the future?