Ocean heat content is not bothered much by weather fluctuations that do, however, affect the surface temperatures, and it is somewhat affected by El Niño events.
Ocean heating is critical marker of climate change because an estimated 93 percent of the excess solar energy trapped by greenhouse gases accumulates in the world's oceans.
The new analysis, published in Science, shows that trends in ocean heat content match those predicted by leading climate change models, and that overall ocean warming is accelerating.
The findings in the United States journal Science, led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, debunk previous reports that suggested a so-called pause in global warming in recent years.
'Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change, and we have robust evidence that it is warming more rapidly than we thought'. That would mean a sea level rise of 30 centimeters or about a foot in addition to the rise in sea levels caused by melting of glaciers and ice sheets.
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Ocean temperatures are increasing faster than scientists previously thought, according to new research.
A key factor in the more accurate numbers is an ocean monitoring fleet called Argo, which includes almost 4,000 floating robots that "drift throughout the world's oceans, every few days diving to a depth of 2,000 meters (yards) and measuring the ocean's temperature, pH, salinity and other bits of information as they rise back up", said the report. The first scenario falls in line with the Paris Climate Agreement's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to keep the average global temperature from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. 2018 is likely to be the hottest year for the oceans on record, beating out 2017 which held the record.
That network has provided consistent data on ocean temperatures and other metrics since the mid-2000s.
Though a warmer ocean might make for a more pleasant swim, it carries deadly consequences. For over a decade, more than 3000 floats have provided near-global data coverage for the upper 2000 m of the ocean.
They drift across the world, every few days diving to a depth of 2,000 metres measuring temperature, salt and chemicals as they rise back up.
The prediction is over four times more than estimates from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggesting the oceans were taking up around 8 Zetajoules of energy each year - an "8" followed by a whopping 21 zeros. Warmer temperature will also damage coral reefs, which are actually nurseries for fish. Warmer seas release more moisture that can stoke more powerful storms.