Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds

Rising ocean temperatures can bleach corals, like these off of Papua New Guinea. Jurgen Freund/NPL/Minden Pictures

Scientists say the world’s oceans are warming far more quickly than previously thought, a finding with dire implications for climate change because almost all the excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in their waters.

A new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. The researchers also concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several straight years.

“2018 is going to be the warmest year on record for the Earth’s oceans,” said Zeke Hausfather, an energy systems analyst at the independent climate research group Berkeley Earth and an author of the study. “As 2017 was the warmest year, and 2016 was the warmest year.”

As the planet has warmed, the oceans have provided a critical buffer. They have slowed the effects of climate change by absorbing 93 percent of the heat trapped by the greenhouse gases humans pump into the atmosphere.

“If the ocean wasn’t absorbing as much heat, the surface of the land would […]

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Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds
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Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds
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New analysis found the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster than a UN panel estimated 5 years ago. Temperatures have broken records for several years.
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The New York Times
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