Even with a slight decrease in global carbon emissions associated with COVID-19, ocean temperatures continued to break records in 2020.
A new study by 20 scientists from 13 institutes around the world recorded the highest ocean temperature since 1955 from the surface to a depth of 2,000 meters.
The report was published on January 13, 2021 in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences and ended with a call on policymakers and others to consider the long-term damage from warming oceans.
“More than 90% of the excess heat from global warming is absorbed by the oceans,” said Lijing Cheng, lead author of the article and assistant professor at the International Center for Climate and Environmental Sciences at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). “However, due to the delayed ocean response to global warming, ocean trends will continue for at least several decades. It is time for society to adapt to the now inevitable consequences of unrelenting warming. But there is still time to take action and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ”
Using a method developed by IAP / CAS, the researchers calculated the ocean temperature and salinity of the oceans at depths of up to 2,000 meters. The work uses data obtained from all available observations from various measuring devices from the World Ocean Database. It is controlled by the National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration. and the National Center for Environmental Information.
Scientists found that in 2020, the top 2,000 meters of the world’s oceans absorbed 20 zettajoules more heat than in 2019. That amount of heat could boil 1.3 billion kettles, each containing 1.5 liters of water.
In addition to disrupting ecosystems, warming oceans and warmer atmospheres also contribute to more intense rainfall during all storms and especially hurricanes, increasing the risk of flooding.