The world's oceans have warmed at twice the rate of previous decades and the extra heat has reached deeper waters, finds data stretching back to 1960.
The rate of ocean warming has nearly doubled since 1992 compared with the previous three decades. And the warming has reached deeper waters, scientists reported Friday.
The findings are important because the world's oceans provide one of the best records of the excess energy trapped on Earth by increased greenhouse gases, largely from the burning of fossil fuels. As the seas heat up from climate change, the water expands and rises, causing coastal flooding and, in Antarctica, ice shelves to disintegrate.
"From this [study] we can better understand the effects of natural and man-made variability to the climate system," said co-author Tim Boyer of NOAA's Ocean Climate Laboratory. "Decision-makers can gauge what needs to be done to ameliorate the situation, or, if not that, to plan for the consequences of the excess heat." The study was published in the journal Science Advances.
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