Oceans heating up at quickening pace: Study

About 93 percent of excess heat — trapped around the Earth by
greenhouse gases that come from the burning of fossil fuels —
accumulates in the world’s oceans. Photo: AFP

By AFP, Tampa
Jan 11 2019 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

The world’s oceans are heating up at an accelerating pace as
global warming threatens a diverse range of marine life and a major
food supply for the planet, researchers said yesterday.

The findings in the US journal Science, led by the Chinese
Academy of Sciences, debunk previous reports that suggested a
so-called pause in global warming in recent years.

The latest technology shows no such hiatus ever existed, raising
new concerns about the pace of climate change and its effect on the
planet’s main buffer — the 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,” said co-author Zeke Hausfather, a graduate
student in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of
California, Berkeley.

About 93 percent of excess heat — trapped around the Earth by
greenhouse gases that come from the burning of fossil fuels —
accumulates in the world’s oceans.

The latest report relied on four studies, published between 2014
and 2017, that gave more precise estimates of past trends in ocean
heat, allowing scientists to update past research and hone
predictions for the future.

A key factor in the more accurate numbers is an ocean monitoring
fleet called Argo, which includes nearly 4,000 floating robots that
“drift throughout the world’s oceans, every few days diving to
a depth of 2,000 meters (yards) and measuring the ocean’s
temperature, pH, salinity and other bits of information as they
rise back up,” said the report.

Argo “has provided consistent and widespread data on ocean
heat content since the mid-2000s,” it said.

The new analysis shows warming in the oceans is on pace with
measurements of rising air temperature.

And if nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gases, “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,” it said.

The thermal expansion — water swelling as it warms — would
raise sea level 12 inches (30 centimeters), above any sea level
rise from melting glaciers and ice sheets.

“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.”

This story was
originally published
by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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Oceans heating up at quickening pace: Study
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Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Oceans heating up at quickening pace: Study