In new research published on Thursday, scientists have discovered that the world’s oceans are warming at a rate much faster than ever predicted.
The research was published in the journal Science and reveals deadly implications for the planet on land and in sea.
As climate change continues to increase global temperatures, the ocean takes the brunt of it as almost all excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in the oceans.
The analysis found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. As well, they revealed that ocean temperatures have broken high records for several straight years .
The warming of the oceans has devastating impacts globally. As the authors all point out, it leads to “increases in rainfall intensity, rising sea levels, the destruction of coral reefs, declining ocean oxygen levels, stronger storms and hurricanes, and the decline in the polar ice caps including glacier coverage.
The team analyzed multiple new studies assessing ocean temperatures to discover the increased warming. As well, they accounted for the fact that older assessments of ocean temperature relied on less accurate methods of data retrieval than would be used today.
If you want to see where global warming is happening, look in our oceans,” said Zeke Hausfather, a graduate student in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of the paper. “Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change, and we have robust evidence that it is warming more rapidly than we thought.”
As the ocean heats up, all living things on land and sea will feel the impact. Melting ice will cause sea levels to rise roughly 12 inches by 2100, extreme storms and hurricanes will only grow in strength, and the fish that billions of people rely on worldwide as food will decline or move to new areas as their eco-systems are drastically changing due to warming waters.
The paper suggests that the best way to help minimize the damage is to ensure we stick to the goal set by the Paris Climate Accord of minimizing warming to no more than 1.5°C .
To reach this goal, each nation will need to drastically cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, invest and promote the growth of green energy, and incentivize citizens to use alternative methods to greenhouse gases.