Measurement in the deep sea: oceans are heating up faster

13 January, 2019, 13:12 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland Australia 2018

The oceans are warming faster than previously estimated, setting a new temperature record in 2018 in a trend that is damaging marine life, scientists said on Thursday.

The planet is "clearly warming", according to the analysis.

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).

A resident of Pariahan village pumps drinking water from a well, on November 28, 2018 in Bulacan, north of Manila in the Philippines. That would mean a sea level rise of 30 centimeters or about a foot in addition to the rise in sea levels caused by melting of glaciers and ice sheets. 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.

(Imaginechina via AP) Landscape of the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, Australia, 2018.

These rising water temperatures are continuing to wreak havoc on marine ecosystems and make hurricanes more destructive through rising sea levels.

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Last year is expected to be recorded as the hottest year yet, beating the 2017 record, according to an analysis by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 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. "The global warming signal is a lot easier to detect if it is changing in the oceans than on the surface".

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. Dubbed Argo, the AI fleet has provided consistent ocean warming data since the mid-2000s, and enabled the team to correct previous ocean warming observations.

The fourth takes a completely different approach, using the fact that a warming ocean releases oxygen to the atmosphere to calculate ocean warming from changes in atmospheric oxygen concentrations, while accounting for other factors, like burning fossil fuels, that also change atmospheric oxygen levels.

The U.S. joined the deal last month despite President Donald Trump's 2017 pledge to withdraw the country from the Paris accord. These robots measure ocean temperature, salinity, and pH.

The prediction is over four times more than estimates from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggesting the oceans were taking up around 8 Zetajoules of energy each year - an "8" followed by a whopping 21 zeros. For over a decade, more than 3000 floats have provided near-global data coverage for the upper 2000 m of the ocean.

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