Oceans Are Warming 13 Percent Faster Than Previously Thought

Posted: Mar 14 2017, 8:44am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Oceans are Warming 13 Percent Faster than Previously Thought
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Oceans are storing extra heat which inevitably means planet is warming more rapidly than we thought

Scientists who study the shifting pattern of ocean temperature said they have uncovered a worrisome trend. They have found that oceans are storing 13 percent more heat than previously estimated, setting stage for rapid global warming.

Researchers came to the conclusion after analyzing data on ocean temperatures over the past 60 years. Historically, the temperature of ocean waters was measured through ships, but those observations were limited to the areas where ships traveled. Thanks to the latest data from the network of thousands of Argo floats, researchers can get a better idea of heat trapped in the waters of global oceans. Although, Agro has achieved near global coverage but it is still not able to reach some remote regions. It dataset is not yet long enough to observe global ocean changes.

To fill these gaps, researchers used a combination of statistical techniques and model output to determine how the temperatures in different parts of the world's oceans relate to one another and created an entire ocean temperature map based on the available observations.

"The results were remarkable. They give us much more confidence about what the ocean heat content was, stretching back to the late 1950s." Co-author Kevin Trenberth, a scientist at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) said.

Researchers have also found that changes in ocean heat were relatively small before 1980 as there was steady flow of greenhouse gases. Since 1990, significant amount of heat have begun to enter deep into the oceans. 

Understanding changes in ocean heat is important because oceans absorb almost 90 percent of excess heat generated by greenhouse gases. Quantifying how much heat is accumulating in Earth system will help improve our understanding of climate change already underway and what changes we can expect in decades and centuries to come. How much and how fast the Earth will warm and better predict sea level rise.

"Science not only looks toward the future, but is also continually trying to make sense of the pas,” said,” co-author John Fasullo. “This work is an example of how advances in technology have enabled an improved understanding of past changes in the ocean, where variability has always been a bit of an enigma due to its vastness and depth. The insights associated with this work change not only our understanding of past climate but also how future changes might unfold.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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