Intriguing report in from the folks at the Biogeochemical Dynamics lab at the University of Arizona.

It seems that the Southern Ocean might slow the rate of global warming by absorbing significantly more heat and carbon dioxide than previously thought. The Southern Hemisphere's westerly winds have slide southward in the last 30 years, and a new climate model suggests that these winds can will transfer heat and carbon dioxide from the surface waters surrounding Antarctica into the deeper, colder waters.

Lead researcher Joellen L. Russell was quoted as saying that "'We think it will slow global warming. It won't reverse or stop it, but it will slow the rate of increase.'"

She also said: "'But there are consequences... This isn't an unqualified good, even if more carbon dioxide and heat goes into the ocean.'"

"As the atmosphere warms, storing more heat in the ocean will cause sea levels to rise even faster as the warmed water expands, she said. Adding more CO2 to the oceans will change their chemistry, making the water more acidic and less habitable for some marine organisms."

There's lots more - too much to get into here. Check out Science Daily: Southern Ocean Could Slow Global Warming »