Ocean temperatures hit another record high in 2020. Even the dip in global carbon emissions, due to less travel during the corona crisis, failed to force a break in the trend: it set a heat record for the sixth year in a row.
This is shown in a study by twenty scientists from thirteen institutes around the world. The results were published in the scientific journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.
Global warming is real
The rising ocean temperature is an indicator of global warming. 90 percent of the excess heat is absorbed by the oceans.
According to scientists, oceans absorbed considerably more heat in 2020 than in 2019. The researchers speak of 20 brewing joules, which would be equal to the amount of heat that 1.3 billion boilers with 1.5 liters of water emit.
We can imagine how much energy the ocean can absorb and retain, and how big the impact will be if it is released slowly.– Lijing Cheng
“Why is the ocean not boiling? Because the ocean is huge,” said the report’s lead author, Lijing Cheng. “We can imagine how much energy the ocean can absorb and retain, and how big the impact will be if it is released slowly.”
Because oceans are delayed in responding to global warming, the warming of the water is expected to continue for at least several more decades. Cheng warns that “societies must therefore adapt to the inevitable consequences of continued warming”.
Header image credits: Thomas Vimare