Featured Image Source: Kezia Swanepoel.
Scientists have been discussing the possible impacts of global warming for decades. Now, we are starting to see some of the impacts in action around the world.
A recent study of the Atlantic ocean shows that over the last 150 years, the oceans have taken much of the excess energy that fossil fuels have released, up to 90%! It is inevitable that this huge amount of energy will change the ocean, but how?
Researchers are attempting to discover just that. How will the intake of energy change the temperatures of the ocean? Will it be uniform or will the changes vary around the world?
One technique that scientists are using is by measuring the heat intake of very deep (and cold) waters. They are able to calculate how the ocean has responded since 1871. The results have shown that much of the warming has happened in the last 60 years, specifically between 1920 to 1945 and 1990 to 2015.
The different peaks of warming mark prime periods of heating, but now scientists are working to see how that will affect future warming patterns. According to Professor Zanna, “The technique is only applicable to tracers like man-made carbon that are passively transported by ocean circulation. However, heat does not behave in this manner as it affects circulation by changing the density of seawater. We were pleasantly surprised by how well the approach works. It opens up an exciting new way to study ocean warming in addition to using direct measurements.”
Researchers will continue to use the technique to predict how the ocean will be impacted in the future.
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