Oceans are heating up at a quickening pace, say scientists

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

In the next six decades the temperature is set to rise by at least six times more than it has in the last six, warn scientists.

Leading climate scientists said in October that the world has about 12 years left to shift the world away from still rising emission toward cleaner renewable energy systems, or risk facing some of the worst impacts of climate change.

"If you want to see where global warming is happening, look in our oceans", Zeke Hausfather, a UC Berkeley graduate student and co-author of the research paper, said in the blog post. Now we have a system called Argo, a fleet of 4,000 floating robots that can dive as deep as 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) below the sea's surface.

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.

A separate study on Monday, by the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service, said 2018 was the fourth warmest year for global surface temperatures in records dating back to the 19th century. According to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) models, the temperature of the top 2,000 meters of global oceans will increase by 0.78 degrees Celsius by 2099.

This would work out at 480 Zetajoules over 60 years.

"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".

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.

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

Mr Hausfather 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". And warming oceans lead to a lot of other dire consequences, some immediately felt by humans and other creatures, and some more generally destructive to life as we've long known it.

New data published by the journal Science on Thursday, indicates that ocean temperatures have consistently risen since the 1950s and are rising 40% faster than calculated by scientists in a 2014 United Nations.

The new analysis, published January 11 in Science, shows that trends in ocean heat content match those predicted by leading climate change models, and that overall ocean warming is accelerating. It costs a lot to produce.

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