IPCC leak: hotter ocean, higher sea level

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IPCC leak: hotter ocean, higher sea level

By a staff reporter

The oceans are becoming a repository for almost all the Earth’s excess heat, driving up sea levels and threatening coastlines, according to a draft of the most comprehensive United Nations report addressing climate science leaked to Bloomberg News.

Citing the study, Bloomberg said temperatures in the shallowest waters rose by more than 0.1 degrees Celsius a decade for the 40 years through 2010.

Average sea levels also increased worldwide by about 19 centimeters since 1901 and researchers said it’s “very likely” the system of ocean currents that includes the Gulf Stream will slow in the coming decades.

Bloomberg said it obtained the 2,200-page report, which will guide the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as it devises a new treaty to fight climate change by 2015, from a person with official access to the report who declines to be identified because it wasn’t published.

“The Earth is absorbing more heat than it is emitting back into space, and nearly all this excess heat is entering the oceans and being stored there,” the report’s authors wrote. “Changes have been observed in ocean properties of relevance to climate during the past 40 years, including temperature, salinity, sea level, carbon, pH and oxygen.”

It’s “extremely likely” mankind is responsible for more than half of the observed temperature rises since the 1950s and it’s “virtually certain” the global rate of sea-level rise has accelerated over the past two centuries, according to the summary document.

Jonathan Lynn, a spokesman for IPCC, declined to comment on the report.

“It’s still a work in progress and may change in the light of comments from government and it may not yet meet the IPCC’s rigorous quality and accuracy standards,” he told Bloomberg.

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