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Scientists warn of a heat flip in 15 years.
They have discovered that excess global warming is being stored in the depths of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans.
New research believes it has the key behind the slowdown in global warming in recent years.
The slowdown of average surface temperature rises in the last 15 years after decades of rapid warming, has been seized on by climate change skeptics.
It has also puzzled scientists, who have hypothesised that everything from volcanic eruptions and sulphur from Chinese power stations to heat being trapped deep in the oceans could be the cause.
The new study, published in the journal Science, concludes that the Pacific alone cannot explain the warming “hiatus” and that much of the heat being trapped by greenhouse gases at record levels in the atmosphere is being sunk hundreds of metres down in the Atlantic and Southern oceans.
But the finding suggests that a naturally occurring ocean cycle burying the heat will flip in around 15 years’ time, causing global temperature rises to accelerate again.