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More than half of world’s oceans already being affected by climate change

More than half of world's oceans already being affected by climate change

More than 50% of the world's oceans could already be affected by climate change, with this figure rising as high as 80% over the coming decades, a new study has shown.

Scientists used climate models and observations in deeper areas of ocean worldwide to calculate for the first time the point at which changes to temperatures and salt levels—good indicators of the impact of human-induced climate change—would overpower natural variations.

The study, published in Nature Climate Change, estimates that 20-55% of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans now have noticeably different temperatures and salt levels, while this will rise to 40-60% by the middle of the century, and to 55-80% by 2080.

It also found the Southern Hemisphere oceans are being affected more rapidly by climate change than the Northern Hemisphere, with changes having been detectable there since as early as the 1980s.

Professor Eric Guilyardi, co-author at the University of Reading and LOCEAN-IPSL, Laboratory of Oceanography and Climate in Paris, said: "We have been detecting ocean temperatures change at the surface due to climate change for several decades now, but changes in vast areas of the ocean, particularly deeper parts, are much more challenging to detect."
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