Waves crash into each other off the sea front in Dawlish on February 8, 2014 in Devon, England.
Dan Kitwood—Getty Images
By Tara John
January 19, 2016

A new study has found that the world’s oceans are warming at a faster rate and half the increase in global ocean heat since 1865 has occurred in the past two decades.

U.S. scientists found that more heat — as much as 35% of additional warmth — is present deep underwater. This means that extra heat is reaching depths of 2,300ft compared to two decades ago, when it contained just 20% extra heat produced from the release of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution, reports the Guardian.

“When we discuss global warming, the most familiar way we do that is talk about temperature changes on the surface – but it’s clear that the oceans are doing the bulk of the work in terms of absorbing the heat in the system,” Peter Gleckler, lead author of the paper, told the Guardian. “And if we want to really understand how much heat is being trapped, we can’t just look at the upper ocean anymore, we need to look deeper.”

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scienstists, who were working with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, analyzed heat content changes in varying depths of the world’s oceans using data and models stretching back to 1865. Their paper was published in Nature Climate Change.

 

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