April 20, 2019

New Climate Change Report Says Ocean Warming Is Far Worse Than Expected

13 January 2019, 01:16 | Edward Lowe

Imaginechina via APLandscape of the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland Australia 2018

Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland Australia 2018

Ocean temperatures are reportedly not affected by functions that occur annually like El Nino.

"Global warming is rearing its head", said Kevin Trenberth, a scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Human-made greenhouse gas emissions are still heating up the Earth's atmosphere, and the majority of that heat goes into the oceans, as the scientists revealed in recent studies.

The researchers found that ocean warming trends match predictions from leading climate change models and that this warming is happening at a pace 40 percent faster than what the United Nations estimated five years ago.

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"2018 is going to be the warmest year on record for the Earth's oceans".

'Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change, and we have robust evidence that it is warming more rapidly than we thought'. This change would cause sea levels to raise 30 centimeters, ice glaciers to melt, and stronger storms to hit continents.

The global team analyzed a number of new studies assessing ocean temperatures to conclude that ocean warming is "stronger" than predicted by previous research.

About 93% of excess heat accumulates in the world's oceans, threatening marine life and a major food supply for the planet. The results provide further evidence that earlier claims of a slowdown or "hiatus" in global warming over the past 15 years were unfounded.

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A fleet of almost 4,000 floating robots drift throughout the world's oceans, every few days diving to a depth of 2000 meters and measuring the ocean's temperature, pH, salinity and other bits of information as they rise back up.

"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. If, however, humans act and can reach the goals set by the Paris agreement, ocean warming could be cut in half by 2081-2100, the authors said. Also, the quality of older ocean data has been substantially improved, and there are both better and independent methods that account for the sparseness of ocean data before Argo era.

Through the data collected, scientists have documented increases in rainfall intensity and more powerful storms such as hurricanes Harvey in 2017 and Florence in 2018. "The global warming signal is a lot easier to detect if it is changing in the oceans than on the surface".

Nearly 200 nations plan to phase out fossil fuels this century under the 2015 Paris climate agreement to limit warming.

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They drift across the world, every few days diving to a depth of 2,000 metres measuring temperature, salt and chemicals as they rise back up. It can take more than 1,000 years for deep ocean temperatures to adjust to changes at the surface.

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