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Pacific Ocean warming 15 times faster than before

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Pacific Ocean warmingIn a study out today in the journal Science, researchers say that the middle depths of a part of the Pacific Ocean have warmed 15 times faster in the past 60 years than they did during the previous 10,000 years.

Most of the heat that humanity has put into the atmosphere since the 1970s from greenhouse gas emissions has likely been absorbed by the oceans, according to the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations-sponsored group of scientists that issues reports every few years about the effects of global warming.

"Increases in ocean heat content and temperature are robust indicators of global warming during the past several decades," according to today's Science study.

"We're pumping heat into the ocean at a faster rate over the past 60 years," said study lead author Yair Rosenthal, a climate scientist at Rutgers University. "We may have underestimated the efficiency of the oceans as a storehouse for heat and energy," he added. "It may buy us some time — how much time, I don't really know. But it's not going to stop climate change."

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