THE OCEANS are warming faster than previously estimated, setting a new temperature record in 2018 in a trend that is damaging marine life, scientists said on Thursday.

New measurements, aided by an international network of 3,900 floats deployed in the oceans since 2000, showed more warming since 1971 than calculated by the latest U.N. assessment of climate change in 2013, they said.

And ''observational records of ocean heat content show that ocean warming is accelerating,'' the authors in China and the United States wrote in the  journal Science of ocean waters down to 2,000 metres [6.600 feet].

Man-made greenhouse gas emissions are warming the atmosphere, according to the overwhelming majority of climate scientists, and a large part of  the heat gets absorbed by the oceans. That in turn is forcing fish to flee to cooler waters.

''Global warming is here, and has major consequences already. There is no doubt that, none!''  the authors wrote in a statement.

Almost 200 nations plan to phase out fossil fuels this century under the  2015 Paris climate agreement to limit warming. US President Donald Trump, who wants to promote US fossil fuels, plans to pull out of the pact in 2020.

Data due for publication next  week will show ''2018 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean surpassing 2017,'' said lead author Lijing Cheng, of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

He told Reuters that  records for ocean warming  had been broken almost yearly since 2000.

Overall, temperatures in the ocean down to 2,000 metres rose about 0.1 degree Celsius [0.18F] from 1971-2010, he said.

The 2013 U.N. assessment estimated slower rates of heat uptake but did not give a single comparable number. [Agencies]


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