By Ana Verayo, | March 14, 2017
Rare marine species such as this hydromedusa belonging to the genus Crossota are in danger of disappearing due to warming ocean temperatures.
Many studies have already predicted rapidly warming oceans due to the effects of climate change. In a new study, oceans around the world are now warming faster than ever before, and has already doubled since 1992 compared to past decades as the heat penetrates deeper ocean levels.
Now, researchers from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) along with an international team collected data from robotic buoys or Argo floats that measured water temperatures and salinity of the oceans.
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Scientists found out that global ocean warming events recorded from 1960 to 2015 resulted in a 13 percent increase than numbers estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Apart from this, this new data showed that warming in the oceans not only stops at the surface, but has penetrated deeper from 700 meters to 2,000 meters since the 1990s.
Past Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predictions say that this ocean warming can result in 30 to 40 percent of sea level rise, however, in this new study, data shows that warming accounts for almost 50 percent. According to co-author of the study, Tim Boyer of NOAA's Ocean Climate Laboratory, with this study, we can gain a better understanding of the world's climate system especially how natural and man-made variables affect this. With this new data, governments and environmental agencies can plan ahead to prepare for the consequences of excess heat on the world.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world's oceans is now hotter than any time in the last 50 years. Researchers estimate that ocean temperatures will rise by up to 39 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century. This is due to the fact that oceans can trap heat from greenhouses gases and if the production of man made greenhouse emissions continue to increase, warming will become an imminent trend for years to come.
This increasing water temperatures also bring about severe environmental risks to ecosystems including human coastal communities and human health. There rising temperatures can melt ice sheets and glaciers to melt rapidly that can increase sea levels. When sea levels increase, climate systems change dramatically that can also produce more storm surges, extreme rainfall and even drought that can all cause flooding and damage to infrastructure.
When it comes to marine ecosystems, increasing ocean temperatures can cause coral bleaching where 70 percent of corals die in many regions of the world such as the Great Barrier Reef. Marine creatures are greatly affected by even the smallest changes of ocean temperature, where this can suddenly change migration, behavior changes, and even reproduction cycles. This new study is published in the journal Science Advances.
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