Red Sea temperatures to cool in coming decades

A natural climate cycle called the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) strongly influences the surface temperature of the Red Sea, according to a study by KAUST, and will lead to a shift to a cooling period over the decades to come.

The majority of the Earth's oceans warmed over the past century, with the rate of warming increasing over the last few decades. As one of warmest ocean basins on the planet, the Red Sea contains a diverse and fragile ecosystem that is particularly vulnerable to further warming.

Most studies of the sea surface temperature (SST) of the Red Sea have covered short periods, where warming rates may have been slowed or intensified by natural, longer-term cycles.

How the AMO influences the SST of the Red Sea over the long-term has now been investigated by George Krokos and colleagues, led by earth scientist Ibrahim Hoteit.

“The AMO is a permanent feature of the Earth’s climate system and is primarily associated with variations in the Atlantic conveyor belt,” explains Krokos. “It has been linked to important global climate impacts, such as the multidecadal variability of mean surface temperatures in the northern hemisphere.”

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