Thursday, 22 November, 2018

Climate change deadline gets worse as ocean heat study shares bad news

Earth's oceans have absorbed 60 percent more heat than previously thought
Sandy Nunez | 04 November, 2018, 19:58

Previous estimates suggested that these enormous bodies of water had collectively absorbed more than 90% of the excess thermal energy.

The discovery took place because the authors of the new study were not satisfied with the information about the temperature and salinity of the ocean, which is compiled from a system of nearly 4,000 ocean buoys in waters around the world, called Argo. "If that is true, it has major implications for the world".

The Earth's oceans have soaked in 60 per cent more heat than previously thought, according to a new study carried out by the researchers from Princeton University and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego. If they did, they would be more careful with nature and the environment, especially now, when we know that climate change has become a big threat for all of us. But it also means that far more heat than we thought has been generated by the warming gases we have emitted. Prior to that, the methods used to measure and calculate ocean heat had multiple flaws.

The researchers involved in the study believe the new finding will make it much harder to keep within the temperature rise targets set by governments in the Paris agreement.

The UN report found that the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030, precipitating the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people. The authors of the new study weren't satisfied with the ocean temperature and salinity information that people have always used, which is gathered from a system of almost 4,000 ocean buoys in waters around the world, called Argo.

"Imagine if the ocean was only 30 feet deep", lead author Laure Resplandy, a Princeton assistant professor of geoscience, said in a statement.

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The researchers' findings suggest that if society is to prevent temperatures from rising above that mark, emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas produced by human activities, must be reduced by 25 percent compared to what was previously estimated, Resplandy said. For example, the marine ecosystem will be affected by warmer waters and many species could disappear.

"There is also sea level, if you warm the ocean more you will have more thermal expansion and therefore more sea level rise". A network of robotic sensors known as Argo now makes comprehensive measurements of ocean temperature and salinity across the globe, but the network only has complete data going back to 2007 and only measures the upper half of the ocean.

As the ocean warms, these gases tend to be released into the air, which increases APO levels.

A report by Reuters published this week - after a year-long investigation into seas between the east coast of the USA and West Africa - found that "marine creatures are fleeing for their lives" because of unprecedented ocean warming that is causing "an epic underwater refugee crisis".

As the seas are now retaining additional energy, more is becoming trapped by Earth's atmosphere.