(NBC) – The world’s oceans hit their warmest level in recorded history in 2019, according to a study published Monday that provides more evidence that Earth is warming at an accelerated pace. The analysis, which also found that ocean temperatures in the last decade have been the warmest on record, shows the impact of human-caused warming on the planet’s oceans and suggests that sea-level rise, ocean acidification and extreme weather events could worsen as the oceans continue to absorb so much heat.
“The pace of warming has increased about 500 percent since the late 1980s,” said one of the study’s authors, John Abraham, a professor of thermal sciences at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. “The findings, to be honest, were not unexpected. Warming is continuing, it has accelerated, and it is unabated. Unless we do something significant and quickly, it’s really dire news.”
Abraham and his colleagues found that the rate of ocean warming accelerated from 1987 to 2019 to nearly 4½ times the rate of warming from 1955 to 1986. According to the study, published Monday in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, average ocean temperatures in 2019 were 0.075 degrees Celsius (0.135 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1981-2019 average. FULL REPORT