The ocean currents have accelerated in the last 20 years due to faster winds that energise the sea surface, says a scientific study. The change in the pace of ocean waters is much greater than the ones caused by natural variations which could mean that this may be part of a long-term trend, says the research article published in Science Advances.
More than two-thirds of the world’s oceans is speeding up, especially in tropical regions and the Pacific, says the study led by Shijian Hu, a scientist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The oceans that comprise three fourths of the Earth’s surface are witnessing severe heat waves and rising sea level. While scientists are yet to ascertain the reasons of these changes, many consider these as results of global warming and climate change. The phenomenon has serious repercussions for marine life.
The researchers have found that wind speeds have increased by 2% every 10 years since 1990s, that have led to a 5% increase in the speed of ocean currents per decade. The current changes in the speed of winds and ocean currents are not expected to happen so early. The Earth has been warming rapidly for several decades due to increasing emissions of greenhouse gases. The study of changes in ocean currents is crucial to the understanding of the global warming threat.
Last week, thermometers at an Argentine research base recorded the highest ever temperature recorded in in Antarctica. The 18.3°C temperature recorded on Thursday obliterated the previous record of 17.5°C recorded on in 2015. The World Meteorological Organisation is yet to verify this reading. The southern continent has warmed at least 3°C in the last five decades and the loss of ice from the Antarctic ice sheet has caused concern among climate watchers.