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Oceans warming faster than expected, set heat record in 2018 - scientists

13 January 2019

"Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change, and we have robust evidence that it is warming more rapidly than we thought".

New measurements, aided by an worldwide network of 3,900 floats deployed in the oceans since 2000, showed more warming since 1971 than calculated by the latest United Nations assessment of climate change in 2013, they said.

And today, researchers writing in the journal Science claim the warming of oceans worldwide since the 1970s has happened 40 per cent faster than previously estimated.

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.

"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 the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) models, the temperature of the top 2,000 meters of global oceans will increase by 0.78 degrees Celsius by 2099. 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. "2018 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean, surpassing 2017", added the research leading author, Lijing Cheng at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The rising sea levels result from the raised temperatures, as warm water takes up more space than cold water. This Trend has far-reaching consequences for fish or other organisms in the already oxygen-poor marine regions, for example, because in particular large fish in oxygen are not able to survive poor areas. Moreover, the revised and updated ocean heat content record is much more in step with the warming predicted by climate models, thereby providing much more confidence in expectations for the future.

Nearly 200 nations plan to phase out fossil fuels this century under the 2015 Paris climate agreement to limit warming.

The robots dive to a depth of 2000 metres every few days, recording the temperature as they float back up to the surface.

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. Ocean temperatures are reportedly not affected by functions that occur annually like El Nino. Warmer temperature will also damage coral reefs, which are actually nurseries for fish.

A warmer ocean also contributes to increases in rainfall and leads to stronger and longer-lasting storms like Hurricanes Florence and Harvey.

Oceans warming faster than expected, set heat record in 2018 - scientists