Deep-Sea News

A Third of Ocean Warming Occurs Below 700 Meters

According to a paper published 18 January 2016 in the journal Nature Climate Change, the observations and climate models used to identify the signature of anthropogenic warming in the upper (0–700 m) ocean have missed the heat occurring below that level, which means we have greatly underestimated how much the ocean has warmed.

 

The authors of the paper state that due to the perception that there has been a “so-called surface warming hiatus” that there has been “considerable interest in global ocean heat content (OHC) changes in the deeper ocean.”

These include both natural and manmade changes identified in observational modeling and data re-analysis studies.

The authors examined changes in the amount of heat in global oceans in the context of the Earth’s global energy budget since early in the industrial era (circa 1865–2015) for a range of ocean depths. Their model-based analysis of data going all the way back to the 18th century Challenger expedition, shows that it is very likely that ocean warming is caused by humans and suggests “that nearly half of the industrial-era increases in global OHC have occurred in recent decades, with over a third of the accumulated heat occurring below 700 m and steadily rising.”

To read the original paper, click here.

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