Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Local weather change: Speedy warming of oceans might endanger marine life

Oceans heating up faster than expected, set record in 2018 Climate scientists alarmed at speed of ocean warming
Sandra Phillips | 13 January, 2019, 13:17

The worldwide team analyzed a number of new studies assessing ocean temperatures to conclude that ocean warming is "stronger" than predicted by previous research.

But warming of the oceans is a huge factor - in fact, the oceans absorb up to 93 per cent of the heat generated by climate change.

Researchers have now combined findings from multiple studies to show there has been a consistent warming trend even during the so-called hiatus, a 15-year period at the beginning of this century when land temperatures seemed to hold.

And "observational records of ocean heat content show that ocean warming is accelerating", the authors in China and the United States wrote in the journal Science of ocean waters down to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). "Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change, and we have robust evidence that it is warming more rapidly than we thought".

"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. According to Lijing Cheng, one of the study's authors, temperatures down to 2,000 meters rose about 0.1 degree Celsius (0.18F) between 1971-2010, according to Reuters.

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Prior to Argo, ocean temperature data was sparse at best, relying on devices called expendable bathythermographs that sank to the depths only once, transmitting data until settling into watery graves.

Lead author Lijing Cheng, of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said records for ocean warming had been broken nearly yearly since 2000. These results demonstrate that earlier claims of a global warming slowdown since 2004 weren't necessarily accurate, since heat trapped from greenhouse gases has increased ocean temperatures. This change would cause sea levels to raise 30 centimeters, ice glaciers to melt, and stronger storms to hit continents. For over a decade, more than 3000 floats have provided near-global data coverage for the upper 2000 m of the ocean.

'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. These robots measure ocean temperature, salinity, and pH. It can take more than 1,000 years for deep ocean temperatures to adjust to changes at the surface.

Ocean warming is reducing the levels of oxygen in the oceans and affects the coral reefs around the world.

Through the data collected, scientists have documented increases in rainfall intensity and more powerful storms such as hurricanes Harvey in 2017 and Florence in 2018.

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