Abel, from Laval, Que., and Ware, a Beloeil, Que., native, scored 292.08 for Canada's second medal at the event. Eric Hedlin of Victoria won Canada's first with a silver in the men's five-kilometre open water competition.
China's Wu Minxia and Shi Tingmao took the three-metre gold, earning Wu a record sixth world title, while Italy's Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape claimed silver with 307.80.
Abel is a two-time Olympian who teamed with Emilie Heymans the last two seasons earning bronze at the 2012 Olympics and silver at the last worlds in 2011 in Shanghai.
This year, Abel and Ware have enjoyed success together winning three international medals and two Canadian titles.
''I don't think we have come close yet to reaching our full potential,'' said Abel. ''I think we showed today how strong we are mentally by never giving up. We have a similar style and show a lot of height and power on our dives. I'm excited about the future.''
The Canadian pair had a rough start and were in 10th place with two dives remaining. However they climbed to sixth in the fourth round and third after their fifth and final twisting dive earned them a string of 7.5's and 8.0's.
Ware said the early rounds just fired her up.
''I was pretty angry going into that fourth dive,'' said the 20-year-old. ''I was so pleased we got it in and then we sealed it with a great last dive.''
The Chinese pair's almost flawless execution of all five dives framed by the dramatic backdrop of Barcelona's skyline gave them the top total score of 338.40 points.
Wu has won nine world or Olympic gold medals in the three-metre synchronized springboard. The only major title to escape her was the 2005 world championship when she didn't compete in the event.
This was Wu's first major competition with Shi, who won gold in the one-metre springboard at the 2011 worlds.
Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia clocked 53 minutes 30.4 seconds to win the men's open water. Hedlin was 1.2 seconds behind, and five-time world champion Thomas Lurz of Germany finished third, 1.8 back.
"I am really happy because I didn't expect (to beat Lurz)," Hedlin said. "It felt pretty good. I was trying to hold a top position and stay in everyone's draft. In the final sprint Oussama was so much quicker than me and I couldn't do anything to beat him."
Earlier, China's Li Shixin topped the preliminaries in the men's one-metre springboard.
Li, the defending one-metre springboard champion, led the men's qualification for Monday's final with 405 points, but a poor last dive let France's Matthieu Rosset finish only 0.5 points behind.
Li looked ready to end the preliminaries with a commanding points difference until he missed with a three-and-a-half somersault pike on the sixth and final dive and barely edged Rosset for the top spot.
Illya Kvasha of Ukraine was third in qualifying, followed by Alejandro Chavez of Mexico in fourth and Sebastian Morales of Colombia in fifth.
Francois Imbeau-Dulac of St-Lazare, Que., placed 27th.
In synchronized swimming action, Chloe Isaac of Brossard, Que., took sixth in the solo technical final.
Svetlana Romashina of Russia won the gold medal with 96.800 points, Xuechen Huang of China was second at 95.500 and Ballastero Carbonell of Spain third at 94.400.
In the team technical preliminaries, Russia stands first with 96.500 points, Spain is second at 94.700 and Ukraine third at 93.200. Japan follows in fourth at 92.200 and Canada performing a new routine called Army is fifth at 90.100.
In the routine, the Canadians were a female army and the theme allowed the swimmers to display the precise technical requirements for the event.
''This was the first time we performed this routine and we were really excited about showing it to the public after working on it for six months,'' said Thomas, the team technical captain. ''The result wasn't something we were going to be concerned about. We just wanted to deliver a solid performance.''
- with files from The Associated Press.Suggest a correction