UC Berkeley study claims oceans warming faster than previously believed

Shane McGlaun - Jan 11, 2019, 6:20 am CST
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UC Berkeley study claims oceans warming faster than previously believed

A new study from researchers at UC Berkeley claims that the oceans of the world are heating up faster than previously believed. One of the publishers of the paper on the topic is Zeke Hausfather, a grad student in the energy and Resources Group at Berkely. He states that ocean heating is an important indicator of climate change, noting that there is “robust evidence” that oceans are warming more rapidly than previously believed.

The paper claims that ocean heating is a critical maker for global warming because an estimated 93% of excess solar energy gets trapped by greenhouse gases that accumulate in the oceans around the globe. Ocean temperatures are reportedly not affected by functions that occur annually like El Nino. The team found that trends in ocean heating match the leading climate change models and that the heating of oceans is accelerating.

The paper says that in a scenario where no effort is made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CIMP5) models predict that the top 2,000 meters of oceans will see a temperature rise of 0.78-degrees Celsius by the end of the century. 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.

The authors also note that warmer oceans mean stronger storms, hurricanes, and precipitation. Ocean temperatures cited in the paper are recorded using the Argo network comprised of almost 4,000 robot floats that stay on the surface most of the time but dive to 2,000 meters every few days to measure ocean temperature, pH, salinity, and other details.

That network has provided consistent data on ocean temperatures and other metrics since the mid-2000s. Hausfather says that 2018 will be the warmest year on record for the oceans, and notes that 2017 and 2016 were the warmest years on record previously.


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