What is the trend in the heat content of the global ocean?

Policy Question
Indicator codes: CLIM 044
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Key messages

(31 Jan 2014)

  • The warming of the World Ocean accounts for approximately 93 % of the warming of the Earth system during the last six decades. Warming of the upper (0–700 m) ocean accounted for about 64% of the total heat uptake.
  • An increasing trend in the heat content in the uppermost 700 m depth of the World Ocean is evident over the last six decades. Recent observations show substantial warming also of the deeper ocean (between 700 m and 2 000 m depth and below 3000 m depth).
  • Further warming of the oceans is expected with projected climate change. The amount of warming is strongly dependent on the emissions scenario.

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