Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Our Oceans Are Warming At An Even Faster Rate Than We Anticipated

Pariahan village pumps drinking water from a well on Nov. 28 2018 in Bulacan north of Manila in the Philippines Jes Aznar Getty Images FILE
Cary Marshall | 13 January, 2019, 13:12

Ocean temperatures are rising faster than scientists previously concluded, according to an alarming report released Thursday.

Ocean heating is an important climate change factor, because approximately 93 percent of extra solar energy captured by greenhouse gases builds up in oceans worldwide, said a University of California, Berkeley blog post.

Researchers have now combined findings from multiple studies to show there has been a consistent warming trend even during the so-called hiatus, a 15-year period at the beginning of this century when land temperatures seemed to hold.

"Observational records of ocean heat content show that ocean warming is accelerating", said the scientists from China and the United States in the journal Science.

'Because the ocean has large heat capacity it is characterized as a 'delayed response´ to global warming, which means that the ocean warming could be more serious in the future, ' the researcher said.

"While 2018 will be the fourth warmest year on record on the surface, it will most certainly be the warmest year on record in the oceans, as was 2017 and 2016 before that", Hausfather said. The first scenario falls in line with the Paris Climate Agreement's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to keep the average global temperature from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Prior to Argo, ocean temperature data was sparse at best, relying on devices called expendable bathythermographs that sank to the depths only once, transmitting data until settling into watery graves.

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The findings in the U.S. journal Science, led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, debunk previous reports that suggested a so-called pause in global warming in recent years.

The new study analyzed earlier published information and data compiled by Argo, an global system of almost 4,000 floats that measures temperature and saline levels in the upper parts of the world's oceans. For over a decade, more than 3000 floats have provided near-global data coverage for the upper 2000 m of the ocean.

The climate models project continuous ocean warming in the 21th century; how much depends on human actions to address climate change.

Overall, temperatures in the ocean down to 2,000 metres rose about 0.1 degree Celsius from 1971-2010, he told Reuters news agency. The fallout could include rising sea levels, destruction of corals, severe weather systems and a decrease in ice sheets and glaciers.

It should be noted that increasing temperature in oceans will drastically affect the marine life, as it will reduce the oxygen in the waters.

A warmer ocean also contributes to increases in rainfall and leads to stronger and longer-lasting storms like Hurricanes Florence and Harvey.

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