Southern Hemisphere ocean temperatures have been rising much more quickly than previously thought, so much so that global ocean warming may have been underestimated by as much as 24 - 55%, according to a new study.
Published by the journal Nature Climate Change and carried out by researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the study sought to determine just how much we've underestimated long-term upper-ocean warming given the scarcity of data collected on Southern Hemisphere ocean temperature increases.
“It's likely that due to the poor observational coverage, we just haven't been able to say definitively what the long-term rate of Southern Hemisphere ocean warming has been,” said the study's lead author, Dr. Paul Durack.
Using satellite data, which offers accurate assessments of sea-leavel rise, predictions based on published findings in Northern Hemisphere oceans, and “a large suite of climate models,” Durack and the other researchers discovered that not only has there been perhaps twice as much ocean warming as scientists had thought, but that the upper layers of the world's oceans—the top 700 meters, or just under 2,300 feet—have been impacted the most by climate change.
“We continue to be stunned at how rapidly the ocean is warming,” Sarah Gille, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor who was not involved in the study, told Climate Central.
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