The temperatures of the seas continue to rise

Scientists from several countries are sounding the alarm together: In 2019, the world’s oceans were warmer than ever since records began – with catastrophic consequences. But there is a way out.

According to a recent analysis, the oceans were warmer last year than ever since the beginning of global coverage. In addition, the temperatures of the oceans would rise faster and faster, warns a team of 14 scientists from eleven institutes in different countries. The past ten years have brought the highest ocean temperatures since the 1950s – with the past five years being the warmest.

This emerges from the study that the researchers jointly present in the specialist journal "Advances in Atmospheric Sciences". The scientists called for climate change to be stopped. The consequences are catastrophic: Rising sea temperatures lead to extreme weather conditions such as cyclones and heavy rainfall. They are also one of the main reasons for devastating forest fires like in Australia as well as in California and the Amazon region.

Extent like billions of atomic bomb explosions

Oxygen depletion and damage to fish and other living things threatened the seas. Thermal expansion causes the sea level to rise. Up to a depth of two kilometers, the sea temperature last year was about 0.075 degrees above the average from 1981 to 2010, according to the paper, which was lead by Cheng Lijing from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics at China’s Academy of Sciences.

0.075 does not sound like a lot, but the scientists use a drastic comparison to make the extent clear: The enormous amount of energy in the form of heat that humans have put into the oceans through climate change over the past 25 years corresponds to 3.6 Billions of atomic bomb explosions on the scale as in Hiroshima, Japan.

Seas take a long time to recover

"It’s important to understand how quickly things change," said John Abraham, co-author and professor at the University of St. Thomas in the US. "To understand global warming, you have to measure ocean warming." Since 1970, more than 90 percent of global warming has flowed into the oceans, while only four percent have heated land and the atmosphere.

"Global warming is real and it’s getting worse."

And that is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come, says Abraham. But humanity could do something: "We can use our energy more wisely, and we can diversify our energy sources," said the researcher. "We have the power to reduce this problem."

According to the scientists, however, the oceans would take a long time to react to changes. "It is important to note that ocean warming continues even if the global surface air temperature can be stabilized at or below two degrees," said the contribution, referring to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The oceans responded much more slowly. Nevertheless, there is reason for hope: The pace and extent of ocean warming and the associated risks could at least decrease – if humanity were to produce fewer harmful greenhouse gases.

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