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article imageOur oceans have never been hotter than they were in 2018

By Karen Graham     Jan 17, 2019 in Science
A number of recent studies have been published highlighting just how significant global ocean warming has become. The vast majority of global warming heat ends up deposited in the world’s oceans, and ocean heat content change can be measured.
An international team of scientists released the 2018 ocean heat content observations in the journal, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on January 16, 2019.
The new observations show that the year 2018 is the hottest year ever recorded for the global ocean, as evident in its highest ocean heat content since 1958. According to Forbes, it's equivalent to the heat of detonating 3 to 5 nuclear bombs in the ocean every second.
To understand just how fast the ocean is heating - the increase in heating from 2017 to 2018 is equivalent to 388 times more electricity than China generated in 2017 - and 100 million times more than the Hiroshima bomb. This level of thermal energy places 2018 as the hottest year ever recorded.
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Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
The values are based on an ocean temperature analysis product conducted by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, reports Phys.org.
Ocean heat content and climate change
This study highlights how much ocean temperatures have been changing in recent years. The increasing heat-trapping gases emitted by human activities into the atmosphere produce an energy imbalance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing longwave radiation that leads to global heating.
And changes in the ocean heat content is considered to be the best way to measure climate change driven by greenhouse gasses (GHG) emitted by human activities.
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Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
It was also found that the increase in heat was distributed across all the world's oceans, with the majority showing an increase in thermal heat. The Southern Ocean and the Pacific Ocean showed more warming than the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
The authors of the study say that "the Increases in ocean heat are incontrovertible proof that the Earth is warming." We can see the effects of a warming world in rising sea levels, storms causing flooding and infrastructure damage along our coasts, and more extreme weather events.
Farmer Christian Sancken shows dried grass in his drought-affected field in Cuxhaven  northern Germa...
Farmer Christian Sancken shows dried grass in his drought-affected field in Cuxhaven, northern Germany, last month
Patrik STOLLARZ, AFP/File
Other effects of ocean warming include declining oxygen levels, as evidenced by the huge algae blooms seen in oceans around the world, the bleaching and die off of corals, and the melting of sea ice and ice shelves. In addition to ocean-related effects, there are other indirect effects of ocean heating, such as increased drought intensity, heatwaves, and an increased risk of wildfires.
More about Global warming, 2018, Ocean, ocean heat content, recordbreaking
 
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