The world’s oceans are rising in temperature faster than previously believed as they absorb most of the world’s growing climate-changing emissions, scientists said Thursday.
Ocean heat – recorded by thousands of floating robots – has been setting records repeatedly over the last decade, with 2018 expected to be the hottest year yet, displacing the 2017 record, according to an analysis by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
That is driving sea level rise, as oceans warm and expand, and helping fuel more intense hurricanes and other extreme weather, scientists warn.
The warming, measured since 1960, is faster than predicted by scientists in a 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that looked at ocean warming, according to the study, published this week in the journal Science.
‘It´s mainly driven by the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to human activities,’ said Lijing Cheng, a lead author of the study from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The increasing rate of ocean warming ‘is simply a signature of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere’, Cheng said.
Leading climate scientists said in October that the world has about 12 years left to shift the world away from still rising emission toward cleaner renewable energy systems, or risk facing some of the worst impacts of climate change.