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Scientists report an unprecedented rise in ocean temperatures

Scientists report an unprecedented rise in ocean temperatures. The world’s oceans are facing an increasing threat from climate change, according to research published by the Taylor & Francis Group. The latest Ocean State Report reveals that global warming is driving an unprecedented rise in ocean temperatures.

Based on data from the European Union’s (EU) Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS), researchers have identified an overall trend of rising surface temperatures worldwide. Records from 1993 to 2018 show that the most profound effects can be found in the Arctic Ocean.

The report describes record high ocean temperatures across European waters in 2018 that led to extreme weather conditions – including a marine heat wave that lasted for several months. 

In the same year, the scientists detected a large mass of warm water in the northeast Pacific Ocean that was similar to “the Blob” in 2013, which drove up sea temperatures by as much as  in 2013. As ocean temperatures rose, toxic algae killed large numbers of marine animals including salmon, seals and millions of Pacific cod.

The study authors are calling for improved monitoring to provide better data and knowledge. They believe this will help countries progress toward the sustainable use of oceans which are an essential source of food, energy, and other resources.

“Changes to the ocean have impacted on these ecosystem services and stretched them to unsustainable limits,” said Karina von Schuckmann and Pierre-Yves Le Traon, who edited the report.

“More than ever a long term, comprehensive and systematic monitoring, assessment and reporting of the ocean is required. This is to ensure a sustainable science-based management of the ocean for societal benefit.”

The researchers pointed out that there are other major climate-related threats to the world’s oceans, including acidification, sea level rise, loss of oxygen, and sea ice retreat.

The Ocean State Report reaffirms the same message from recent EU and global assessments on the state of oceans that “we are not doing well.”

“Human society has always been dependent on the seas. Failure to reach good environmental status for our seas and oceans is not an option, wrote the study authors. 

The research is published in the Journal of Operational Oceanography.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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