Scientists discover where all the heat from climate change goes

Exeter, UK - Ever wonder where all the heat generated by climate change goes? Well, one group of experts asked the same question, and the answer is deep in the depths of our oceans.

The ocean is where life started, but it is also a proving ground for what life will survive climate change.
The ocean is where life started, but it is also a proving ground for what life will survive climate change.  © 123RF/willyambradberry

A new study by climate scientists at universities in Exeter and Brest found that oceans have stored around 90% of rising temperatures caused by climate change, according to SciTechDaily.

That heat, most of which was absorbed by the deep ocean, is caused by human activity, especially burning fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Their research also showed that heat trapped by the ocean will equal 0.2 degrees Celsius in the next 50 years.

Adding more heat to the ocean has serious impacts on the ocean, like accelerating sea-level rise, changing how life underwater works, and even lowering the amount of oxygen in the sea, which is known as ocean acidification.

Why ocean warming matters

The ocean and marine animals living in it are pretty sensitive to change, especially if the water they live in gets toastier and more acidic, and the road ahead is rocky for marine life.

According to Inside Climate News, the trend of warming and more acidic water could be a direct route to the same conditions that killed off 90% of ocean life 250 million years ago.

This extinction event, called The Great Dying, is a solid preview of what's to come without serious climate action that halts warming as soon as possible.

The University of Exeter's Dr. Marie-José Messias told SciTechDaily, "As our planet warms, it’s vital to understand how the excess heat taken up by the ocean is redistributed in the ocean interior all the way from the surface to the bottom, and it is important to take into account the deep ocean to assess the growth of Earth’s ‘energy imbalance’."

Cover photo: 123RF/willyambradberry

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