If there is something that characterized 2022 was quite some adverse meteorological conditions — proving (to whoever still can’t believe it) climate change is real. From the European heat weaves that left all Western dreaming of a white Christmas to the North American winter storms that made citizens dream of Sandy beaches, not to forget the pervasive floods that inundated parts of Pakistan and Africa.
The weather took over the media headlines on many occasions, and not for positive reasons. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration pointed out that many of the extreme weather events taking place in 2022 were caused and intensified by climate change. Unfortunately, a new report by investigators in China, the U.S., Italy, and New Zealand, showcases oceans are suffering from abrupt climate variability too.
The study, published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, points out that the world’s oceans were the hottest ever recorded in 2022 and notes they are heating faster than they have ever done in the last 2,000 years. This rise in ocean temperatures undoubtedly reveals that human-caused pervasive emissions are taking a toll on the planet’s climate, which will not go away until zero emissions are achieved.
To accurately evaluate the reliability of results, researchers collected data across oceans and combined separate findings by Chinese and U.S. teams to subsequently calculate the overarching heat content on the sea surface. Salinity was also analyzed, as alongside temperature, it determines water density. The index of variability in salinity across oceans also reached a peak in 2022, illustrating a continued amplification of the global hydrological cycle.
Ocean started to absorb heat in 1958, with an accelerated warming period after the 1990s. Hotter oceans happen as a result of the medium trying to neutralize extreme weather. The extra moisture they produce in the air leads to more intense hurricanes and typhoons, as well as a rise in sea levels which endanger coastal cities.
On the relevance of the findings, the international team of scientists behind the analysis commented: “The Earth’s energy and water cycles have been profoundly altered due to the emission of greenhouse gasses by human activities, driving pervasive changes in Earth’s climate system.”
They continued: “Measuring the oceans is the most accurate way of determining how out of balance our planet is. We are getting more extreme weather because of the warming oceans and that has tremendous consequences all around the world.”
Take a more in-depth look at the full paper, Another Year of Record Heat for the Oceans. And, if you feel like chasing that with slightly more positive news for the environment – read about how New York is working to purge PFAS.
Source: The Guardian.
Images: Mikhail Nilov