(ORDO NEWS) — In 2022, the world’s oceans reached their warmest level on record for the fourth year in a row, contributing to sea level rise and contributing to climate disasters.
In 2022, the oceans reached their warmest level on record for the fourth year in a row, according to a new report by scientists.
Previous heat records were broken in 2021, 2020 and 2019, and the six highest levels were all in the past six years.
The world’s oceans are colossal heat sinks – they absorb up to 90 percent of excess heat in the atmosphere.
And as the air heats up rapidly due to greenhouse gas emissions, the oceans absorb more and more heat over time.
The announcement of the new record was released on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, just days after scientists from the European Climate Change Service Copernicus announced that 2022 was the planet’s fifth hottest year on record. 2016, 2020, 2019, and 2017 are also in the top five, according to the agency.
All this speaks of planetary warming, not only of the oceans, but also of the atmosphere.
A report on the oceans by Chinese Academy of Sciences scientist Lijing Cheng notes that every decade since 1958 has been hotter than the last.
And over time, warming has accelerated. Since the late 1980s, the rate at which the ocean stores heat has increased three to four times.
Some areas of the planet are warming faster than others. Four major basins reached their regional heat records in 2022, including the North Pacific, North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Southern Oceans.
The report also notes that the oceans are becoming increasingly stratified, meaning that masses of warm and cold water don’t mix as easily, but instead stick to each other like layers in a cake.
Layering can make it difficult to transport heat, oxygen, and vital nutrients through the water column.
This can damage marine ecosystems and trap heat near the surface of the water where it can continue to warm the atmosphere.
Climate models predict these trends will continue as the world continues to warm. Meanwhile, the oceans will continue to steadily absorb more and more heat.
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