Oceans hit highest temperature on record in 2019

Coral bleaching in Moorea

Coral bleaching in Moorea

The planet's oceans hit record high temperatures in 2019 as the rate of climate change speeds up.

In 2019, the ocean temperature was about 0.135 degrees Fahrenheit (0.075 degrees Celsius) higher than the average between 1981 and 2010, an global group of researchers reported on January 13 in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

According to the researchers, people can work to reverse their effect on the climate, but the ocean will take longer to respond than atmospheric and land environments. By comparison, the energy released by the Hiroshima atom-bomb explosion was about 63,000,000,000,000 Joules.

"There are no reasonable alternatives aside from the human emissions of heat trapping gases to explain this heating", Cheng said.

Researchers found that world oceans reached their warmest level in 2019, amid 5 years that were the warmest 5 for oceans on record and 10 years that were warmest 10.

An worldwide team of 14 scientists examined data going back to the 1950s, looking at temperatures from the ocean surface to 2,000 meters deep.

Oceans are a good method for measuring the planet's warming as the bodies of water trap more than 90 percent of the excess heat stored on Earth. "This measured ocean warming is irrefutable and is further proof of global warming".

Heating is distributed throughout the oceans, it said, but was most profound in the Southern ocean. "The global ocean warming has caused marine heat waves in Tasman Sea and other regions".

The ocean warms slowly, said Cheng, but due to its vast size has dire consequences.

"Fortunately, we can do something about it: We can use energy more wisely and we can diversify our energy sources".

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