The planet’s oceans consume about 90 percent of carbon emissions produced by human activity, according to the scientific estimates. And they are doing this at a much faster rate than previously expected. Numerous studies, run in recent years, showed that researchers’ predictions turned out to be divorced from reality, report replyua.net via scientificamerican.
The fresh research, published by Science magazine, shows that mounting evidence collected by four research groups working separately confirms that the global ocean is getting warmer at an alarming pace – 40 percent faster than predicted by the IPCC. Various studies, stemming back from the 1950s, found that oceans tend to absorb 10 times as much energy every year as the whole of humanity does annually.
This latest report laments the need for turning attention to warming oceans, which are vital to the ecosystem of life on the planet. The general public and governments usually center upon climate change effects on land and weather – but these are obviously interconnected with the ocean temperature. In particular, calculating the pace, at which global waters are warming up, helps to estimate the planet’s vulnerability to greenhouse gas and predict the speed of warming over time. In fact, ocean temperature is the most accurate and reliable indicator of the overall planet temperature.
Rising ocean temperature has an immediate effect on its inhabitants. Corals get bleached and scores of marine species are moving to colder waters, which turns the entire marine ecosystems upside down. As well as that, warmer oceans also contribute to the melting of the glaciers, which in turn raises the sea levels globally and causes coastal floods.
The climate change models, compiled with this new data in mind, confirm that if the greenhouse emissions continue unabated, life on the planet will be increasingly threatened. Meeting the goals, set forth by the Paris Climate Accord, is crucial to slowing down global warming and giving the planet’s ecosystems a chance.
The study also points out that the global currents and the patterns of water circulation in the oceans have been changing over recent decades. Coupled with the rising water temperature, this poses a very real risk for marine life and coastal communities alike, although the one which can still be reversed if a straightforward action is taken.