The oceans are hotter in 2021 than at any point in recorded history

New research this week Shows that the world’s oceans were hotter than they have ever been in recorded history – part of a long-term warming trend drive mainly due to fossil fuel emissions that wreak havoc on the planet.

According to a annual study published in the peer-reviewed journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, the past five years have been the hottest five years for Earth’s oceans since measurements began in the late 1950s.

Since the late 1980s, the oceans have warmed eight times faster compared to what they did in previous decades and 2021 marks third year in a row in which the previous record for annual energy absorption was broken. These trends, the article clarifies, are due to “human-induced increases in greenhouse gas concentrations.”

“We want to emphasize that global warming is actually warming,” said Lijing Cheng, lead author of the report and professor of environmental science at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. ocean warming and ocean warming have serious consequences. told CNN. “Ocean warming continues to break records, which is a reminder that the world needs action to combat climate change.”

RELATED: Climate crisis report card for 2021

The study of the ocean’s rising heat content comes a day after the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service published a review. display that the past seven years have been the hottest in recorded history.

Just as global surface air temperatures rise, the pattern of ocean warming is happening because of carbon dioxide and methane emissions, researchers To speak. Greenhouse gas pollution has increased over the past two centuries largely due to capitalism runs on fossil fuels and its insatiable profit motive.

When excess heat is trapped in the planet’s atmosphere, the oceans absorb 90% of that heat, leading to a sharp increase in the heat content in the oceans, the newspaper said. explain.

“The effects are probably subtle but profound,” Kevin Trenberth, co-author of the new ocean report and a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, told CNN. “To prevent this [trend], we really need to achieve net-zero [emissions], and many countries have plans but not enough action to support them. “

Before and in recent times COP26 climate summit, many governments pledge to reduce pollution from planetary heating in coming years, but new data shows steady rise of greenhouse gases emissions and concentration in the atmosphere reveal it empty promises won’t be enough to avert the most climate emergency dire consequences.

If policymakers do not take swift and powerful action to decarbonize the world’s energy system and economy, the heat content of the oceans will continue to soar, scientists warn. and it’s getting worse extreme weather disaster is increasing in frequency, duration and intensity.

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“Warmer oceans increase weather patterns to produce more powerful storms, stormy and heavy rainfall leads to deadly flood, “CNN note, pointing to Hurricane Ida’s devastating impact along the Gulf Coast, next flooding the New York City subway system and Superstorm Rai, was killed hundreds of people in the Philippines during the holidays.

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The warming of the ocean also increases the air temperature, allowing more moisture to enter the warmer atmosphere. For every 1.8 degrees warmer, heavy rainfall increases by about 7%. The year 2021 marks one of the wettest year record for the East Coast, thanks to a series of tropical storms and summer thunderstorms.

Abnormal December tornado has hit a number of states can also be derived from warm waters. In December, record warm temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico created an atmosphere more reminiscent of spring than winter. Thus, two tornadoes hit the southern and central United States in the same week.

Furthermore, higher ocean temperatures threaten to disrupt marine life – which supplies a quarter of the world’s protein – and put millions of people at risk. acceleration sea ​​level rise.

Michael Mann, climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University: “Ocean warming is destabilizing the Antarctic ice shelves, which could lead to the collapse of large ice sheets like glaciers. Thwaites, threatens sea level rise… and one of the study’s authors, told the Post. “This finding really underscores the urgency of taking action on the climate now.”

CNN reported:

As the oceans warm, the water expands and sea levels rise. About a third of all sea level rise in the 20th century was due to ocean warming, Cheng said. Outside flooding due to high tides, sea level rise threatens coastal freshwater supplies with saline intrusion, and makes coastal communities and infrastructure more susceptible to high tides.

Part of the reason action is so urgent, Cheng said, is that the oceans will continue to warm for decades after fossil fuel emissions are cut.

As Trenberth explains, “the oceans are slow to respond,” which is why “we have to better prepare and build resilience” now.

The dangers associated with ocean warming, Statuses article, “should be included in climate risk assessment, adaptation and mitigation”, and reflected in “engineering designs, construction codes and revision of coastal development plans.”

Read more from Salon’s report on the climate crisis: The oceans are hotter in 2021 than at any point in recorded history

Caroline Bleakley

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