Global Warming Reaches Deep Ocean Depths
By Environment 360
24 September, 2010
The warming trend on the planet has reached deep into world oceans over the last two decades, particularly in the waters around Antarctica, according to a new study. While earlier studies have shown that the upper levels of the planet’s oceans are getting warmer, scientists with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say their latest research shows that waters at a depth of 3,300 feet and more have absorbed about 16 percent of the heat accumulating in the upper layers of the ocean.
While the temperature increase is relatively slight — about 0.02 degrees C per decade in the Southern Ocean, and less elsewhere — researchers say it’s still a significant increase given the massive volume of water involved and the high capacity of water to absorb heat. That temperature increase has not only caused ocean water to expand worldwide, increasing sea levels, but has contributed to the melting of some Antarctic ice sheets, according to the paper, published in the Journal of Climate. Sea levels around Antarctica have increased by 3 millimeters annually — about an eighth of an inch — since 1993.