"The upper ocean warmed considerably over the past decade and a half, according to a new study that attempts to make sense of conflicting analyses of the amount of heat stored in the world's seas.
Between 1993 and 2008, the study finds, the upper 700 meters of the oceans absorbed about 0.6 watts per square meter of energy. That is roughly equivalent to the power of 2 billion copies of the atomic bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II, said lead author John Lyman, an oceanographer at the University of Hawaii's Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research.
"Ocean heat content is a very good indicator for how the entire planet is warming," he said, because the seas serve as a massive planetary heat sink. "A percentage of the incoming radiation [from the sun] is trapped on our planet by greenhouse gases, and it turns out that about 80 to 90 percent of that heat is trapped in the ocean." "
Lauren Morello reports for ClimateWire May 20, 2010.