The world’s oceans appear to have been running a fever last year, according to a new study released this week.
The study, published in the journal “Advances in Atmospheric Sciences” and authored by scientists from China, Italy and the USA, finds:
“The world ocean, in 2021, was the hottest ever recorded by humans, and the 2021 annual [ocean heat content] value is even higher than last year’s record value.”
Higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activities cause heat to be trapped within the climate system, which also increases the ocean’s temperature, according to the report:
“The long-term ocean warming is larger in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans than in other regions and is mainly attributed, via climate model simulations, to an increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. The year-to-year variation of OHC is primarily tied to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). In the seven maritime domains of the Indian, Tropical Atlantic, North Atlantic, Northwest Pacific, North Pacific, Southern oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea, robust warming is observed but with distinct inter-annual to decadal variability. Four out of seven domains showed record-high heat content in 2021. The anomalous global and regional ocean warming established in this study should be incorporated into climate risk assessments, adaptation, and mitigation.”
Read the full report here.