More than 50% of the world’s oceans may already be feeling the effects of climate change, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The team of researchers used climate models and ocean observations in order to calculate the first time temperatures and salt levels changed – this is a good indicator of the impact that human-induced climate change is having on the oceans.
Based on this analysis, the researchers found that anywhere between 20-55% of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans now have noticeably different temperatures and salt levels due to climate change.
The researchers have estimated that this could rise to 40-60% by the middle of the century and 55-80% by 2080.
They also found that the Southern Hemisphere oceans are being affected more rapidly by climate change than the Northern Hemisphere, with changes detectable there since as early as the 1980s.
The scientists argue that improved ocean observation is necessary to monitor the extent of the impact of climate change on the world’s oceans, and in order to predict more accurately the wider effect that this could have on the planet.
Professor Eric Guilyardi, co-author of the study said: ‘We have been detecting ocean temperatures change at the surface due to climate change for several decades now, but changes in vast areas of the ocean, particularly deeper parts, are much more challenging to detect.’
Yona Silvy, a doctoral student at Sorbonne University, and lead author of the study added: ‘We were interested in whether the levels of temperatures and salt were great enough to overcome natural variability in these deeper areas, that is if they had risen or fallen higher than they ever would during the normal peaks and troughs.
‘This affects global ocean circulation, sea-level rise and poses a threat to human societies and ecosystems.’
In related news, researchers at the American Chemical Society have detected micro and nano plastic particles in human organs.
The researchers obtained 47 samples from a large repository of brain and body tissues that was established to study neurodegenerative diseases.
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