Something odd happened in the oceans in the early 20th century. The North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific appeared to warm twice as much as the global average, while the Northwest Pacific cooled over several decades.
Atmospheric and oceanic models have had trouble accounting for these differences in temperature changes, leading to a mystery in climate science: Why did the oceans warm and cool at such different rates in the early 20th century?
Now, research from Harvard University and the U.K.’s National Oceanography Centre points to an answer as mundane as a decimal point truncation and as complicated as global politics. Part history, part climate science, the research corrects decades of data and suggests that ocean warming occurred in a much more homogenous way.
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