Oceans Absorbed Double Amount Of Man-made Heat Since 1997: Study

Posted: Jan 20 2016, 10:11pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


Oceans Absorbed Double Amount of Man-made Heat Since 1997: Study
Image show how upper ocean is warming in past six decades.Red colors indicate a warming (positive) anomaly and blue colors indicate a cooling (negative) anomaly. Credit: Timo Bremer/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

World oceans absorbed 150 zettajoules of heat energy in the last 18 years, meaning they have trapped heat energy equal to Hiroshima-size bomb every second for 75 straight years.

Humans are having a devastating impact on the world’s climate. They are causing heating up of global oceans faster than what was originally thought.

According to a latest study, oceans have absorbed man-made heat energy at an unparallel rate over the last decade or so. 

It has been long known that when humans burn fossil fuels, more than 90 percent of the heat energy produced by it goes into world oceans instead of the ground or atmosphere and increases the ocean temperature.

But a new study analyzed the data collected by 1870s British research ship Challenger's as well as modern underwater monitors and computer models to find how much man-made heat has been buried in the oceans over the past 150 years.

Researchers found that world’s oceans absorbed a total of 150 zettajoules over the course of 132 years at the start of the industrial era (from 1865 to 1997) and absorbed another 150 zettajoules in next 18 years from 1998 to 2015. 

Zettajoule is an amount of energy which is impossible to imagine. If an atomic bomb like the one dropped in Hiroshima is exploded every second for a year, it will release a total of just 2 zettajoules of energy. It means that oceans have been absorbing heat energy equal to a Hiroshima-size bomb every second for 75 straight years.

“The changes we're talking about, they are really, really big numbers. They are nonhuman numbers.”Paul Durack, an oceanographer at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab and co-author of the study said

Most of the heat has been trapped in the upper ocean at 2,300 feet but is reaching to the depths of the oceans as well.

“As the upper oceans have been warming over time, more and more of this heat is finding its way down into the deeper ocean, and our results indicate that the fractional amount of heat that is trapped in the deeper ocean is increasing as well.” Lead author Peter Gleckler told Washington Post.

The situation has serious consequences on Earth’s energy balance, meaning more energy is being trapped in Earth’s system while less is escaping.

Over time, however, the oceans will get warmer and absorb less heat. As a result of it, more heat stay in air and on land surface and accelerate global warming.

Jane Lubchenco, Oregon State University marine sciences professor says."These finding have potentially serious consequences for life in the oceans as well as for patterns of ocean circulation, storm tracks and storm intensity.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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