Researchers found that the oceans are dramatically changing due to climate change, the latest evidence of a warming world.
The planet’s oceans were the warmest in recorded history in 2019, according to a new analysis published Monday.
An international team of researchers analyzed temperature data from sources around the globe and issued a dramatic warning that climate change is already deeply affecting what’s seen as the storage facility for any excess heat generated by a warming world. Hotter oceans are threatening marine biodiversity and the planet’s fisheries. They’re melting land and sea ice at a breakneck pace and fueling more severe storms and flooding.
“It is critical to understand how fast things are changing,” John Abraham, a professor at the University of St. Thomas and a co-author of the paper, said in a news release Monday. “The key to answering this question is in the oceans — that’s where the vast majority of heat ends up. If you want to understand global warming, you have to measure ocean warming.”
The oceans are one of the largest bellwethers of climate change: More than 90% of the planet’s excess heat trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is absorbed by them.
The authors of the ocean temperature study note that, even should the world dramatically scale back the burning of fossil fuels in order to keep the planet from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius — the level at which scientists say we must stay beneath to avoid catastrophic consequences — the oceans will likely keep changing.
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