The Earth is 70% covered by oceans, and stores about 90% of the planet’s heat. This means that ocean warming translates into global warming. Climate change deniers contend that global warming is not caused by greenhouse gas emissions, but rather by natural processes and variations. However, a study released this week proves with 99% certainty that no more than 10% of the observed increase in ocean temperatures over the past 50 years could be accounted for by natural variation.
The Human-Induced Global Ocean Warming on Multidecadal Timescales study is the most comprehensive study ever performed on rising ocean temperatures, and authored by a team of American, Indian, Japanese, and Australian scientists. According to the study, the planet’s oceans are warming at a rate of 0.20°F per decade, which affects global weather patterns leading to increasing weather extremes such as more heat waves, storms, and intense storms. Furthermore, ocean warming affects the ocean ecology itself. A few of the effects we’ve already begun to see are plankton reduction, melting sea ice, and coral die-off.
The study unequivocally points to global warming as man-made. Of course, this has been known, shown and settled for nearly twenty years by the IPCC and climate scientists around the world. But the shift to ocean warming is significant due to its proportion of the Earth and its surface as well as because the vast majority of the people on Earth live very close to rising oceans.
Four or five years ago we shifted from the question of ‘is it happening’ to ‘what to do about it’. Political and business interests have worked hard to shift this debate back again, but the real focus must remain on the numerous solutions to climate change and the dwindling timeline we have to reduce our global emissions 50-80% by mid century.
Download the full study at this link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n7/full/nclimate1553.html