Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The findings in the US Journal of Science, led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, show that the world’s oceans are heating up at an accelerated pace as global warming threatens a diverse range of marine life and a major supply of food for the planet.
Researchers used the latest technology to debunk previous reports that suggested a so-called pause in global warming in recent years, raising new concerns about the pace of climate change and its effect on the planet’s main buffer – the oceans.
“Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change, and we have robust evidence that it is warming more rapidly than we thought,” said co-author Zeke Hausfather.
About 93 percent of excess heat – trapped around the earth by greenhouse gases that come from the burning of fossil fuels – accumulates in the world’s oceans.
The new analysis shows warming in the oceans is on pace with the measurements of rising air temperature. If nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gases, “models predict that the temperature of the top 2,000 meters of the world’s oceans will rise 0.78 degrees Celsius by the end of the century,” it said.
If that happens, thermal expansion would cause sea levels to rise by another 12 inches on top of any sea level rise from melting glaciers and ice sheets.
“While 2018 will be the fourth warmest year on record on the surface, it will most certainly be the warmest year on record in the oceans, as was 2017 and 2016 before that,” Hausfather said.
If our oceans are not as effective as we thought in acting as the planet’s buffer for global warming, humans will need to act with even more urgency and determination as we struggle to slow down the world’s rising temperatures. People who are aware, can do what they can individually but when it comes to an issue that affects the entire planet, governments will have to step in with policies and laws meant to curb greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible so future generations can enjoy the planet we have exploited irresponsibly for far too long.*