The oceans warm up faster than climate reports have suggested, according to a new synthesis of temperature observations published this week. The latest report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made what turned out to be a very conservative estimate of the rise in sea temperature, and researchers now urge us to adjust our expectations.
"The numbers come in 40 to 50 percent [warmer] than the latest IPCC report," said Kevin Trenberth, climate researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and a report author, published in Science Magazine Thursday.
In addition, Trenberth said, "2018 will be the hottest year on record in the oceans" as 2017 was and before 2016.
Oceans covers 70 percent of the world and absorbs 93 percent of the planet's extra warmth from climate change. They are responsible for spawning catastrophes such as hurricanes Florence and Maria and generate heavy precipitation through meteorological processes such as "atmospheric river" and "Pineapple Express."
The sea level increases with the observance of humble consequences along the east coast and around the world, both physically and economically. Trenberth and his colleagues say that if society continues to emit greenhouse gases at its present rate, the oceans will increase one foot at the end of the century at the peak of the increase expected by melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica.
Scientists have begun to pin down how climate change loads the dice in extreme weather. After Hurricane Harvey, the researchers found the lethal and costly effects of the storm likely to be exacerbated by warmer oceans. And, as the Washington Post reported in December, "a drought in East Africa that left 6 million people in Somalia against food shortages was caused by dramatic sea warming that could not have happened without human impact on the environment."
After several studies published in recent years, some of which contained errors that must be corrected and published for the record, "we felt the need to make a more general assessment," Trenberth said.
The researchers combined four data Put on painting a picture of what has happened in the oceans since 1991. Trenberth and his co-authors say that the sea's heat content, which is a measure of the heat on the water down to about 2000 meters, is a "big measurement for global warming measurement, because the data is not as irregular as the temperature of the land, and it catches much more of the planet.
During the process, they discovered something interesting: their data is consistent with what the climate models were predicting. "Oh, maybe the models have more credibility than we thought," said Trenberth, heavy in the cheek.
As the planet warms, models have proved to be an invaluable tool. It is not enough to say that the climate is changing – the researchers want to know how it will change in the future. Yet, these models are one of the preferred targets of climate change skeptics. They seemed to lack the so-called global warming between 1998 and 2013. At that time, the researchers explained that there was no heath, but that the heat simply built up in the oceans or that there was a data collection issue. They were right, but it did not save the models from criticism.
This synthesis suggests that the models are doing well. In fact, in the oceans, they perform even better than expected and have marched in lock stages with the extreme ocean warming observed by thousands of temperature-collecting fleets worldwide. If the climate models have actually worked well before, it gives scientists greater confidence in their predictions for the future.
Trenberth said that their relatively concrete article was published on Thursday "highlights some of the developments that have taken place since the latest IPCC report" that came out in 2014. The previous one came out in 2007.
Articles that it in Science is for help to remind people of the progress made in science between the large, sweeping reports, says Tom Di Liberto, a climatologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The IPCC reports have deadlines of at least one year before they are published, the science in the latest report may have been made six to eight years ago and "there are a lot of things that have happened since then," says Liberto.
"It speaks to the broader issue of scientific communication," he continued. "Science works slower than we are communicating now."
Even ahead, there are two scenarios scientists are working on. The low-emission scenario on which the Paris Climate Change Agreement was rebuilt is no longer realistic, Trenberth says. The high emission-related, commercial scenario will probably continue until around 2040, according to his opinion, but eventually society will figure out how to deal with the crisis.
"Yes, we must try to stop emitting greenhouse gas. But the inertia is great," says Trenberth. "Therefore, the climate will continue to change." He believes that adaptation is the way forward, rather than geoengineering, which is "not well thought out at all" and problematic ".
Di Liberto agrees that we already know effects, but he also sees changes in society.
" We have spent too much time and effort on people who may not be convinced "that climate change is right and important, he said. "But now it seems to be this grassroots movement for young people who care. I don't remember a time like this. "