Researchers warn oceans may be warmer than thought

Researchers have warned that the planet's oceans may be holding more heat than previously estimated, something that would mean Earth as a whole is warming at a faster rate than current estimates. Such information comes from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, also known as NCAR, in a study it recently published. Such a conclusion was made using a combination of models, ocean temperature monitors, and existing data.

Though we have a somewhat lengthy record of ocean temperatures over the years, the data is less precise and more sparse the further back in the record we travel. This is due to a combination of things, including limitations in the places where ships could record ocean temperatures. In more recent years, researchers have deployed floating monitors called Argo that can monitor the temperature of the ocean in any given location.

The most remote parts of the ocean still aren't monitored by technology like this, but researchers have determined that having monitor data from one part of the ocean can help accurately shed light on ocean conditions hundreds of miles away. Using this, the researchers are then able to estimate the ocean temperatures for past dates stretching back to the 1950s.

Thanks to this data breakthrough, the researchers have determined temperature levels and increases for the past several decades, and they've observed major changes starting in the 1980s. Even greater levels of ocean warmth kicked off in the 1990s, and the data shows that this heat storage is beginning to affected deep ocean levels. Overall, the oceans may be holding about 13-percent more heat than researchers had previously thought.