THE HEAT IS ON: How much can the ocean bear?
THE HEAT IS ON: How much can the ocean bear? Jonathan Haywardap

Warming puts more pressure on oceans than previously thought

GLOBAL warming is heating the world's oceans at a faster rate than previously believed, a new study has shown.

The study, published in Nature Climate Change on Tuesday, found the past 20 years had accounted for half of the increase in the temperature of the world's oceans since pre-industrial times.

It showed the world's oceans had absorbed nearly 30% of human-created fossil fuel emissions, with the Southern Ocean absorbing a huge 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon in the past five years.

The research found that some 35% of the heat stored in seawater was found at a depth of at least 700m.

Researchers led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US, found the world's oceans were now doing more to absorb global warming-linked atmospheric heat than the land.

While the study showed oceans were soaking up more heat, it did not assess the implications of the extra heat on marine life or bio-diversity.

Temperature rises in the ocean have previously been linked to higher rates of ocean acidification - one of the key effects of climate change on coral, including on the Great Barrier Reef.

The research was the first major study to examine the heat content of deeper ocean areas rather than surface temperatures.



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