Past measurements may have missed massive ocean warming
Earth’s oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the warming caused by greenhouse gases, researchers estimate, with the stored heat showing up as warmer seawater. But a new analysis suggests scientists may have underestimated the size of the heat sink in the upper ocean—which could have implications for researchers trying to understand the pace and scale of past warming.
Seas pose a formidable challenge to climate scientists. On one hand, they are as big a player in the global climate system as the atmosphere. As a result, “global warming is ocean warming,” oceanographer Gregory Johnson writes in a commentary on the new study, appearing in Nature Climate Change. But vast swaths of the ocean are poorly measured, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere.
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