Ocean temperatures rising at record levels

Climate change fuels record rise in ocean temperatures

The hottest ocean temperatures ever were recorded in 2021 and it was the sixth year in a row that the record had been broken, according to new research published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

“The ocean heat content is relentlessly increasing, globally, and this is a primary indicator of human-induced climate change,” said co-author of the research Kevin Trenberth, who is a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

Last year, strong levels of warming were seen in the seven maritime domains of the Indian, Tropical Atlantic, North Atlantic, Northwest Pacific, North Pacific, Southern oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. Record levels of warming were reported in four of the seven areas.

The research finds that the Atlantic and Southern oceans are warming the most quickly, but there has also been a large increase in the heat of the north Pacific and the Mediterranean Sea since 1990.

John Abraham, another of the study’s co-authors and a thermal sciences expert at the University of St Thomas., says that it’s evident human behaviour has had an effect on the heating of the earth’s waters. “Ocean heat content is one of the best indicators of climate change,” he said.

“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,” said fellow reseach author Michael Mann of Penn State University.

 

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“The ocean heat level is relentlessly increasing, globally, and this is a primary indicator of human-induced climate change.” Kevin Trenberth

 

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