A new report on ocean temperatures put together by researchers at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, was just released and the news is…not good.
2017 saw the warmest ocean temperatures on record, according to the report. And the second warmest year doesn’t even come close. Now, bear with some weird figures here, but in 2017, the world’s oceans were 1.51 x 1022 joules (joules are a measure of heat energy) hotter than they were in 2016, which was the warmest year on record.
For reference, that amount of heat energy is 699 times greater than all of China’s electric generation in 2017. That’s right, 699 times greater than all of China’s electric energy generation in 2017. It seems important enough to mention twice.
The majority of the warming took place in the Southern and Atlantic Oceans, the report states, but all the oceans experienced warming.
The consequences are rising seas, since water expands as it heats, and increased oxygen loss, coral reef bleaching and, of course, melting ice shelfs, which in turn increases sea level rise. In 2017, the seas rose about 2mm, according to this report.
The past five years have seen the five warmest years of ocean temps ever recorded, with the trend of warming seas rising significantly since at least 1995.
The report makes no qualms about the cause either: a greenhouse effect exacerbated by human activity. “The long-term warming trend driven by human activities continued unabated [in 2017],” the authors of the report said.
So, uh, we should probably abate that.