Oceans Are Warming Faster Than Expected, Research Says

Ocean Temps Rising Faster Than Scientists Thought: Report

Ocean Temps Rising Faster Than Scientists Thought: Report

The report also found that the warming rate has accelerated since 1991. "The global warming signal is a lot easier to detect if it is changing in the oceans than on the surface".

'Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change, and we have robust evidence that it is warming more rapidly than we thought'.

These results demonstrate that earlier claims of a global warming slowdown since 2004 weren't necessarily accurate, since heat trapped from greenhouse gases has increased ocean temperatures. The fallout could include rising sea levels, destruction of corals, severe weather systems and a decrease in ice sheets and glaciers.

Assuming a "business-as-usual" scenario in which no effort has been made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) models predict that the temperature of the top 2,000 meters of the world's oceans will rise 0.78 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Ocean heat - recorded by thousands of floating robots - has been setting records repeatedly over the last decade, with 2018 expected to be the hottest year yet, displacing the 2017 record, according to an analysis by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. These robots measure ocean temperature, salinity, and pH.

"The fairly steady rise in OHC [ocean heat content] shows that the planet is clearly warming", the report stated, adding that rising sea levels and temperatures should be concerning, "given the abundant evidence of effects on storms, hurricanes and the hydrological cycle, including extreme precipitation events".

If humans don't do anything to mitigate climate change, warming in the upper part of the ocean will be six times higher by 2081-2100 than total ocean warming in the past 60 years, researchers estimate.

"The fact that these corrected records now do agree with climate models is encouraging in that is removes an area of big uncertainty that we previously had", he said.

The system uses nearly 4,000 drifting ocean robots that dive to a depth of 2,000 metres every few days, recording temperature and other indicators as they float back to the surface.

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 on ocean temperature until settling into watery graves.

And "observational records of ocean heat content show that ocean warming is accelerating", the authors in China and the United States wrote in the journal Science of ocean waters down to 2,000 meters (6,600 ft). "These four new records that have been published in recent years seem to fix a lot of problems that were plaguing the old records, and now they seem to agree quite well with what the climate models have produced".

'It´s mainly driven by the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to human activities, ' said Lijing Cheng, a lead author of the study from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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