FunNature & AnimalThe oceans are warming faster than we thought

The oceans are warming faster than we thought

The world’s oceans are warming faster than previously thought, as they absorb most of the world’s growing climate change emissions, says a team of scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences who published their work in the Science magazine.

Thus, the heat trapped by greenhouse gases is raising ocean temperatures faster than we thought. Analysis of four recent observations of ocean warming attests to this. The results provide additional evidence that previous claims of a slowdown or “pause” in global warming in the last 15 years are unfounded.

The ocean’s heat, recorded by thousands of floating robots, has been repeatedly setting records over the past decade, and 2018 is expected to be the hottest year , displacing the 2017 record.

Scientists warn that this is driving sea level rise as the oceans warm and expand and help fuel more intense hurricanes and other extreme climates.

“It is mainly due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to human activities,” said Lijing Cheng, one of the lead authors of the study.

The increasing rate of ocean warming “is simply a signature of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” continues Cheng.

Leading climate scientists said in October that the world has about 12 years left to shift the world from emissions to cleaner renewable energy systems, or risk facing some of the worst consequences of climate change, such as worsening from water and food shortages, more powerful storms, heat waves and other extreme climates, and rising seas.

For the past 13 years, an ocean observing system called Argo has been employed to monitor changes in ocean temperatures, leading to more reliable data that is the basis for new ocean heat records.

Ocean robots

The system uses nearly 4,000 ocean robots that dive to a depth of 2,000 meters every few days, recording temperature and other indicators as they float back to the surface. Through the data collected, scientists have documented increases in the intensity of rainfall and more powerful storms such as Hurricanes Harvey in 2017 and Florence in 2018.

Remember that the oceans are the source of energy for storms and can power the most powerful as temperatures rise.

For the future, the storms during the 2050-2100 period are expected to be much stronger than the storms in the 1950-2000 period.

Cheng said the oceans, which have so far absorbed more than 90% of the additional solar energy trapped by rising emissions, will see a continued rise in temperature in the future.

“Because the ocean has a large heat capacity, it is characterized as a ‘late response’ to global warming, which means that ocean warming could be more severe in the future, ” said the researcher.

“For example, even if we meet the goal of the Paris Agreement (to limit climate change), the ocean will continue to warm and the sea level will continue to rise. Its effects will continue, “says Cheng.

Reference: DOI: 10.1126 / science.aav7619 “How fast are the oceans warming?” Science (2019).

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