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13 January 2021

Ocean Warming

And its effects

photo: William Bossen

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 5th assessment has reported with high confidence that more than 90% of heat energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010 has been absorbed by the ocean, while only 1% has been stored in the atmosphere.

This has resulted in the warming of the ocean, to varying degrees across different basins and depths with approximately two thirds of heat absorbed in the upper 700m, and one third in the deep ocean below 700m.

Across the entire ocean, the upper 75m have seen the largest increase in seawater temperature with an increase of 0.11 degrees celsius per decade over the period 1971 to 2010.

Implications of a warming ocean are expansive and are the starting point to several positive feedback loops. Key implications are:
Sea-level Rise
Carbon Cycle Disruption
Coral Bleaching
Bottom Water Formation


Credits to Maja Krass – Bachelor Thesis World Bachelor in Business Program: “How Private Vessels Can Aid Marine Scientific Research”, April 2020 “AR5 Synthesis Report – Climate Change 2014 – IPCC.”


Discover more about positive feedback loops

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