Our oceans are warming faster than previously thought

By MiNDFOOD

A Perfect big breaking Ocean barrel wave and surfer
A Perfect big breaking Ocean barrel wave and surfer

The oceans are warming faster than previously estimated, setting a new temperature record in 2018, according to a report published.

The oceans are warming faster than climate reports have suggested, according to a new synthesis of temperature observations published in the journal Science.

Heat trapped by greenhouse gases is the cause of the rising temperatures following the analysis of four recent ocean heating observations. The results provide further evidence that earlier claims of a slowdown or “hiatus” in global warming over the past 15 years were unfounded.

Multiple studies in the past few years have found that previous estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may be too low.

“The numbers are coming in 40 to 50 percent [warmer] than the last IPCC report,” said Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and an author on the report.

“If you want to see where global warming is happening, look in our oceans,” said Zeke Hausfather, a graduate student in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of the paper. “Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change, and we have robust evidence that it is warming more rapidly than we thought.”

Trenberth and his colleagues say if society continues to emit greenhouse gas at its current rate, oceans will rise one foot by the end of the century on top of the rise expected from melting land ice on Greenland and Antarctica.

“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 global warming signal is a lot easier to detect if it is changing in the oceans than on the surface.”

“Future changes in ocean transport could have severe consequences for regional sea-level rise and the risk of coastal flooding,” the authors of the study conclude.

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