2017 Was The Warmest Year For World Ocean

Posted: Jan 20 2018, 7:25am CST | by , Updated: Jan 20 2018, 7:28am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
2017 was the Warmest Year for World Ocean
Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

Increases in ocean temperature cause ocean volume expansion, which contributes to the global sea level rise

Due to climate change, not only atmospheric, but also oceanic temperatures are rising. In fact, last year was the warmest year on record for global ocean, according to a new analysis from Institute of Atmospheric Physics/Chinese Academy of Science.

In 2017, the ocean temperature in the upper 2000 meters was 1.51 × 1022 J, which is higher than the second warmest year of 2015. It is also significantly higher than any year from the past three decades. The situation raises new concerns about the quickening pace of climate change.

Oceans absorb more than 90 percent of heat generated by human activities and this storage ability of oceans plays a central role in stabilizing Earth's climate system. In particular, the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide continue to increase the temperature of both oceans and atmosphere. Climate variability such as El Niño and La Niña events are also contributing to temperature rise. The combination of these factors could lead to stronger precipitation events in coming years.

“The increase in ocean heat content for 2017 occurred in most regions of the world. The human greenhouse gas footprint continues to impact the Earth system,” reports Phys.

“Increases in ocean temperature cause ocean volume expansion, which contributes to the global mean sea level rise. The increase in ocean heat of 1.51 × 1022 J in 2017 resulted in a 1.7 mm sea global level rise. Other consequences include declining ocean oxygen, bleaching of coral reefs, and melting sea ice and ice shelves.”

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