“We can look back now and say we’re lucky, but that was a long time ago,” said Mark Littrell, a professor of oceanography at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.
Littrie and his colleagues estimate that the world’s oceans have been losing mass since the middle of the 20th century.
That’s because the oceans have not been absorbing much of the extra heat generated by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, which are releasing more heat.
But the planet is expected to become warmer again over the next few decades, and the warming will have implications for ocean health, including acidification.
“What we’re seeing now is the tip of the iceberg, the tipping point,” said Littriell.
“This is where the tipping points are, and it’s going to get worse.”
The world’s population is rising rapidly, and many nations are trying to adapt to a world that is getting hotter and drier.
“Climate change is not something that’s going away, it’s just going to go away faster than people think,” Littlett said.
“The sooner we have a system that keeps the planet habitable, the sooner we can start to address this.”
Littli said the best way to deal with climate change is to make sure people are aware of the risks they are taking and how they are contributing to it.
“We’ve had a number of studies that have shown that the biggest risk is that people are not thinking about how they’re going to live, how they will get by,” he said.
In the future, climate change could result in more extreme weather events, including droughts and floods, and more intense droughty summers.