World’s oceans have soaked up 3.6 BILLION Hiroshima bombs worth of energy in just 25 years as global water temperature soars to a new all-time high in 2019
- Ocean temperatures were 32 Fahrenheit above the 1981-2010 average last year
- The past decade has been the warmest on record for global ocean temperatures
- More than 90 per cent of global warming heat since 1970 went into the ocean
- The study was conducted by 14 scientists from 11 institutes across the world
- The study is proof that ocean warming is ‘irrefutable’ and still getting worse
The world’s oceans were warmer in 2019 than at any other time in human history, according to an international study.
Average global temperatures of the oceans in 2019 soared to 0.075°C (0.135°F) above the average temperature from between 1981 and 2010.
To warm the world’s water by this much requires a huge amount of energy, an estimated 228 sextillion joules of heat.
Academics claim this is equivalent to 3.6 billion Hiroshima atom-bomb explosions.
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The ocean absorbs most of the excess heat from greenhouse gas emissions, leading to rising ocean temperatures
‘The Hiroshima atom-bomb exploded with an energy of about 63,000,000,000,000 joules,’ said Lijing Cheng, lead paper author and associate professor with the International Center for Climate and Environmental Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
‘The amount of heat we have put in the world’s oceans in the past 25 years equals to 3.6 billion Hiroshima atom-bomb explosions.
‘This measured ocean warming is irrefutable and is further proof of global warming.
‘There are no reasonable alternatives aside from the human emissions of heat trapping gases to explain this heating.’
Researchers from 11 different institutions from China and the US collaborated on the research, published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.
‘It is critical to understand how fast things are changing,’ said John Abraham, co-author and professor of mechanical engineering at the University of St. Thomas in the US.
‘The key to answering this question is in the oceans – that’s where the vast majority of heat ends up.
‘If you want to understand global warming, you have to measure ocean warming.’
The Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Ocean warmed more compared to most of the other basins, with most warming felt between the surface and 6,500 feet down.
Researchers also compared the temperature changes from 1955 to 1986 with the period 1987 to 2019 – with the most recent period of time 450 per cent warmer.
Since 1970, more than 90 per cent of global warming heat went into the ocean, while less than 4 per cent warmed the atmosphere and land where humans live.
Heat accumulates in the ocean because of its large heat capacity, but the remaining 4 per cent manifests as atmospheric warming, a drying a warming land mass and melting of land and sea ice.
‘Even with that small fraction affecting the atmosphere and land, the global heating has led to an increase in catastrophic fires in the Amazon, California and Australia in 2019, and we’re seeing that continue into 2020,’ said Professor Cheng.
‘The global ocean warming has caused marine heat waves in Tasman Sea and other regions.’
Increases in ocean temperature reduce dissolved oxygen in the ocean because oxygen is less soluble in warmer water.
This affects sea life, particular corals and other temperature-sensitive marine organisms.
The surging temperatures are sparking marine heat waves, with one notorious example in the North Pacific dubbed ‘the blob’.
Oceans cover 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and make up 95 percent of all space available to life
Scientists believe it decimated marine life ranging from plankton to whales and killed 100 million cod.
A 2017 hot spot in the Gulf of Mexico also spawned Hurricane Harvey, which the Rice Kinder Institute said led to 82 deaths and caused about £83 billion ($108 billion) in damages.
Not for the first time, scientists are calling on humanity to reverse climate change in the face of disastrous effects.
‘Global warming is real, and it’s getting worse,’ Abraham said. ‘And this is just the tip of the iceberg for what is to come.
‘Fortunately, we can do something about it – we can use energy more wisely and we can diversify our energy sources.
‘We have the power to reduce this problem.’
The study uses an analysis method developed by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and includes ocean temperature changes recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US.
HOW MUCH WILL SEA LEVELS RISE IN THE NEXT FEW CENTURIES?
Global sea levels could rise as much as 1.2 metres (4 feet) by 2300 even if we meet the 2015 Paris climate goals, scientists have warned.
The long-term change will be driven by a thaw of ice from Greenland to Antarctica that is set to re-draw global coastlines.
Sea level rise threatens cities from Shanghai to London, to low-lying swathes of Florida or Bangladesh, and to entire nations such as the Maldives.
It is vital that we curb emissions as soon as possible to avoid an even greater rise, a German-led team of researchers said in a new report.
By 2300, the report projected that sea levels would gain by 0.7-1.2 metres, even if almost 200 nations fully meet goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Targets set by the accords include cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in the second half of this century.
Ocean levels will rise inexorably because heat-trapping industrial gases already emitted will linger in the atmosphere, melting more ice, it said.
In addition, water naturally expands as it warms above four degrees Celsius (39.2°F).
Every five years of delay beyond 2020 in peaking global emissions would mean an extra 20 centimetres (8 inches) of sea level rise by 2300.
‘Sea level is often communicated as a really slow process that you can’t do much about … but the next 30 years really matter,’ lead author Dr Matthias Mengel, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Potsdam, Germany, told Reuters.
None of the nearly 200 governments to sign the Paris Accords are on track to meet its pledges.
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