Half Of Recent Ocean Heat Increase Came In Past 20 Years

By on January 27, 2016

Pacific and Atlantic southern sections showing upper-ocean warming for the past six decades (1955-2011). (Credit: Timo Bremer / Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

Using recent data as well as data from a 19th century maritime voyage, researchers from the Department of Energy report in a release that while temperatures all over the globe have been rising, half of the increases in heat have occurred in only the past 20 years.

The rapid increase significantly impacts the ocean, which absorbs over 90 percent of the heat generated via global warming. Although ocean surface temperature rise is nothing new, the study shows that excess heat from global warming is now penetrating into the deep ocean as well.

The study employed a wide range of ocean temperature data sets and many climate models to determine heat content. Temperature data were gathered using methods that ranged trom dangling thermometers over the sides of ships to a sophisticated global array of robotic profiling floats in the Argo network.

Warming data over time and at different depths compared well to predictions of recent climate models, researchers found.

Top image: Pacific and Atlantic southern sections showing upper-ocean warming for the past six decades (1955-2011). (Credit: Timo Bremer / Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

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