With an estimated 80% of greenhouse gases emitted over the past several decades having been absorbed by the oceans, their waters have become warmer in the process. In a new analysis, US-based researchers at University of Washington and the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) found that even the deepest and coldest ocean waters are now registering their absorption of the warmth, with the steepest temperature rises occurring around the southern pole of Antarctica.
Temperatures recorded at depths below 1,000 meters over the past 20 years revealed that increases are small due to the vastness of the seas, which translates to an enormous capacity for energy storage.
In fact, if the heat currently being poured into the deep ocean were to stay in the atmosphere instead, our ambient temperature would rise at a rate of 3 degrees Celsius per decade.
The scientists warn, however, about these warming waters’ adverse effects. Along with the disturbance to marine ecosystems, they are contributing to sea level rise in two ways: about half coming through the expansion of water as it warms, and the other half through the melt of freshwater ice from the Antarctic continent into the ocean.
Our appreciation for this new information on deep ocean warming, National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration and University of Washington researchers. We share in the sincere hope that such evidence leads to rapid actions to reverse these far-reaching environmental consequences.
In an interview published in the July 12, 2009 edition of the Irish Sunday Independent, Supreme Master Ching Hai expressed her concern about the outcomes of rising ocean temperatures and urged for humanity’s necessary counter-measures.