Climate change: Oceans 'soaking up more heat than estimated'

(BBC News, 1 Nov 2018) The world has seriously underestimated the amount of heat soaked up by our oceans over the past 25 years, researchers say.

Their study suggests that the seas have absorbed 60% more than previously thought.

They say it means the Earth is more sensitive to fossil fuel emissions than estimated.

This could make it much more difficult to keep global warming within safe levels this century.

What have the researchers found?

According to the last major assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world's oceans have taken up over 90% of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases.

But this new study says that every year, for the past 25 years, we have put about 150 times the amount of energy used to generate electricity globally into the seas - 60% more than previous estimates.

That's a big problem.

Scientists base their predictions about how much the Earth is warming by adding up all the excess heat that is produced by the known amount of greenhouse gases that have been emitted by human activities.

This new calculation shows that far more heat than we thought has been going into oceans. But it also means that far more heat than we thought has been generated by the warming gases we have emitted.

External link

BBC News, 1 Nov 2018: Climate change: Oceans 'soaking up more heat than estimated'