Humans warming oceans: scientists
Using a combination of computer models and real-world observed data, US
scientists said on Thursday they have found the first clear evidence that humans
are warming the world's oceans.
This finding will remove much of the
uncertainty associated with debates about global warming, said the scientists in
a paper published in the online issue of the journal Science.
researchers, led by Tim Barnett at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in
California, have captured signals of the penetration of greenhouse
gas-influenced warming in the oceans, indicating that the warming is produced by
In this study, Barnett and his colleagues used computer
models to calculate human-produced warming over the last 40 years in the world's
This high degree of visual agreement and statistical significance
that leads Barnett to conclude that the warming is the product of human
influence. Efforts to explain the ocean changes through naturally occurring
variations in the climate or external forces, such as solar or volcanic factors,
did not come close to reproducing the observed warming.
"This is perhaps the
most compelling evidence yet that global warming is happening right now and it
shows that we can successfully simulate its past and likely future evolution,"
The climate mechanisms behind the ocean study will produce
broad-scale changes across the atmosphere and land, the researchers noted.
the decades immediately ahead, the changes will be felt in regional water
supplies, including areas impacted by accelerated glacier melting in the South
American Andes and in western China, putting millions of people at risk without
adequate summertime water, according to Barnett.
The implications of these
results go far beyond identifying the reasons for ocean warming, scientists
"Taking these new results with those obtained in the last few years
leaves little doubt that there is a human-induced signal in the
"How to respond to the serious problems posed by these
predictions is a question society must decide," they wrote.