“It is critical to understand how fast things are changing,” co-author John Abraham said.
“The key to answering this question is in the oceans – that’s where the vast majority of heat ends up.
“If you want to understand global warming, you have to measure ocean warming.”
Warmer ocean temperatures lead to increased evaporation, which in turn contributes to more extreme weather events across the globe, such as flooding, hurricanes and wildfires.
“The global heating has led to an increase in catastrophic fires in the Amazon, California and Australia in 2019, and we’re seeing that continue into 2020,” Dr Cheng said.
The researchers warn that the ocean warming trend is so severe that it will persist in the immediate future even if the global community meets its Paris Agreement targets.
“However the more we reduce greenhouse gases, the less the ocean will warm,” Dr Cheng added.
“Reduce, reuse and recycle and transferring to a clean energy society are still the major way forward.”