Energy & Environment

Ocean heat sets another record high

AP Phot6o/Robert F. Bukaty
Lobster fishermen are already at work as the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2022, off of Kennebunkport, Maine.

The ocean saw record high temperatures once again in 2022, according to new research published on Tuesday.

“The inexorable climb in ocean temperatures is the inevitable outcome of Earth’s energy imbalance, primarily associated with increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases,” said the paper, published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. 

“The global long-term warming trend is so steady and robust that annual records continue to be set with each new year,” it added.

Global ocean temperatures have continually broken records in recent years. Two separate data sets evaluated in the paper — one from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and another from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — showed relatively similar increases in temperatures in the last year.

Ocean temperatures, which are measured in zettajoules (ZJ), have typically increased by about 5.3 ZJ or 5.5 ZJ a year over the last six decades, according to NOAA and CAS, respectively. However, between 2021 and 2022, ocean temperatures increased by about 9.1 ZJ or 10.9 ZJ, according to the two data sets.

Since the late 1980s, the ocean has been warming at a rate three to four times faster than earlier decades, the paper noted. For instance, CAS data showed that ocean temperatures increased by about 2.3 ZJ per year between 1958 and 1985. However, since 1986, it has increased by about 8.7 ZJ a year.

As the world has struggled to come together on climate change efforts, recent research has continually showed record-setting climate events and natural disasters.

In the U.S. alone, there were 18 separate weather and climate disasters that cost more than $1 billion in 2022, making it the third most costly year on record, NOAA said in a release on Tuesday.

The last eight years were also the warmest on record, according to research released by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service on Monday.

Tags Chinese Academy of Sciences Climate change National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ocean ocean temperatures

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