New project investigates the global warming hiatus

March 10, 2016
The ocean

To investigate why the global warming trend varies from decade to decade, scientists from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) will work alongside those from nine other research organisations as part of a major new multidisciplinary research project.

Over the last decade a slowdown, or hiatus, has been observed in the global warming of the earth’s surface. Although it is important to note that heat is still accumulating in other parts of the climate system, such as the deep ocean. Potential causes for these variations include; the effects of volcanic activity, solar radiation, greenhouse gases and atmospheric aerosols and atmospheric and ocean circulation. This new project, called SMURPHS, will investigate the impact of each of these factors on the observed variation in global warming.

In 2014 scientists at the NOC and The University of Southampton published research showing the important role played by the absorption of heat by the North Atlantic, Tropical Pacific and Southern Oceans in the most recent slow-down of global warming. The world leading ocean models available at the NOC will enable a high quality investigation of the wider role the ocean plays in global warming variability.

Dr Bablu Sinha, who is the project lead for NOC, said “Climate change is recognized as one of society’s most pressing problems. The SMURPHS project will address the question of why the rate of surface warming varies on decadal time-scales and will inform government policies on climate change adaptation. This will fill important gaps in the understanding of the different processes controlling climate and how they interact with each other. Absorption of heat by the ocean is one of the most important climate moderating processes. The NOC will provide world leading expertise in ocean observations and ocean circulation models to help ensure the success of SMURPHS.”

This Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) funded project began with a kick off meeting in Leeds this week. The University of Leeds are leading the project, and other partners are: the Universities of Southampton, Reading, Oxford, Exeter, Edinburgh and East Anglia as well as the Met Office and the British Antarctic Survey.

*SMURPHS stands for Securing Multidisciplinary Understanding and Prediction of Hiatus and Surge events


Home | Back to top

Information for…


The outputs of research generate new knowledge about the oceans. Transferring scientific knowledge to support business and industry is an important part of our NOC remit.



Our research is intended to tackle the big environmental issues facing the world. Research priorities will include the oceans' role in climate change, sea level change and the future of the Arctic Ocean.



The University of Southampton and the University of Liverpool both offer a range of highly regarded undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Ocean and Earth Science.



For any media or press enquiries to the National Oceanography Centre follow the more link below. Please note the centre's press office is staffed from 0830 to 1730, Monday to Friday.



NOC Staff can access the Intranet and Webmail resources at the following URLS.


Follow what we are up to:

Follow NOCnews on Twitter Follow NOCSnews on Youtube Follow NOC on facebook

Subscribe to our email alerts service:
NOCMail logo

Delivery Partners

Delivery Partners helping to provide marine science national capability.


Marine Science Community

The creation of a wider association of Universities and research institutions to support wider engagement of the NOC with the marine science community is now underway.



The National Oceanographic Library is a national resource for the UK marine science community.


Principal scientists

All updated information for cruise participants can be found using the Marine Facilities Planning website: