The world's oceans are warming about 40 percent more quickly than previously thought.
Researchers from the United States and China said this could lead to higher sea level rise and more extreme cyclones in the tropics.
In an analysis published in the journal, Science, the team found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster, on average, than a UN panel estimated five years ago.
They concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several consecutive years, which has dire implications for climate change, and tropical low-lying environments like the Pacific.
Already, surging water temperatures are killing off coral and other marine ecosystems, raising sea levels, and contributing to more intense cyclones.
The authors warn these effects will become more catastrophic as oceans continue to heat up.