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Ocean temperatures hotter than they were two years ago: study

“Global warming continues and is manifested in record ocean heat."

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By Alice Clifford via SWNS

Ocean temperatures continue to smash records in 2022, a new study reveals.

By absorbing most of the heat from human carbon emissions, our oceans are getting hotter and saltier.

This change can damage marine ecosystems and disturb the water cycle, causing an increase in natural disasters such as droughts and floods.

The top 2000m of our ocean’s water is now hotter than it was in 2021.

This jump is equal to 100 times the world’s electricity generation in 2021, 325 times China’s 2021 electricity production and 634 times the 2021 electricity production in the U.S.

This rise of heat alone is enough to boil 700 million 3-pint (1.5 liters) kettles every second.

An increase in ocean temperature and saltiness causes the water to separate instead of mix, throwing off the delicate balance between our oceans and the atmosphere.

These layers alter how heat, carbon and oxygen are exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere above it.

This can cause a loss of oxygen within the water, severely disturbing marine life and ecosystems.

While this is a nightmare for marine life, it also can be disastrous for humans and ecosystems on land.

Reducing the diversity of our oceans and displacing important species can wreak havoc on fishing-dependent communities and their economies.

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Dr. Kevin Trenberth, a researcher at both the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Auckland, and third author of the study said: “Some places are experiencing more droughts, which lead to an increased risk of wildfires, and other places are experiencing massive floods from heavy rainfall, often supported by increased evaporation from warm oceans.

“This contributes to changes in the hydrologic cycle and emphasizes the interactive role that oceans play.”

The Global Carbon Project has estimated that global carbon dioxide emissions increased by one percent in 2022, reaching 36.6 billion tonnes.

This new study collected observations from 24 scientists across 16 institutes worldwide.

The researchers focused on two international datasets.

One is from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the other is from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Each data set looks at the heat of the oceans and their impact on the environment since the 1950s.

Three key indicators of climate change are the rising temperatures of oceans, an increase in salt and increased ocean stratification, which is the separation of water into layers.

Dr. Tim Boyer, a senior researcher from the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said: “Both IAP and NCEI data show a consistent message that upper 2000m ocean heat content hits a record high value in 2022.”

Dr. Lijing Cheng, a researcher for the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and lead author of the study added: “Global warming continues and is manifested in record ocean heat, and also in continued extremes of salinity.

“The latter highlight that salty areas get saltier, and fresh areas get fresher and so there is a continuing increase in the intensity of the hydrological cycle.”

These rising temperatures have a serious impact on our oceans and these consequences come much quicker than one would hope.

The researchers will continue tracking these changes to see what can be done to prepare for higher temperatures, extreme weather and all the other consequences that come along with warming oceans and an impacted water cycle.

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Dr. John Abraham, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, US, and the second author of this study, added: “In the future, the group will focus on understanding the changes of the earth’s major cycles and improve the future projections of earth’s heat, water and carbon changes.

“This is the basis for human[s] to prepare for the future changes and risks”

Dr. Michael Mann, a professor at the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of the study, said: “The oceans are absorbing most of the heating from human carbon emissions.

“Until we reach net zero emissions, that heating will continue, and we’ll continue to break ocean heat content records, as we did this year.

“Better awareness and understanding of the oceans are a basis for the actions to combat climate change.”

The results were published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Science.

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