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High temperatures oceanic unprecedented in 2020

The smoke of the sea is the result of the frigid air that passes over water is relatively warm; the phenomenon is rare, even in the Arctic.

The smoke of the sea is the result of the frigid air that passes over water is relatively warm; the phenomenon is rare, even in the Arctic. – PIXABAY – File


Even with the small drop related to the confinement by the COVID-19 in global carbon emissions, ocean temperatures continued a trend of breaking records in 2020.

A new study, written by 20 scientists from 13 institutes around the world, reported the ocean temperatures highest since 1955 from the level of the surface to a depth of 2,000 meters.

The report was published January 13 in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences and concludes with a call to legislators and others to consider the lasting damage that can cause the oceans warmer while attempting to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“More than 90% of the excess heat due to global warming is absorbed by the oceans, hence the warming of the oceans is a direct indicator of global warming; the warming we have measured paints a picture of global warming in the long term”, said Lijing Cheng, lead author of the study and associate professor of the International Center for Environmental Sciences and Climate Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

“However, due to the late response of the ocean to global warming, the trends of the changing ocean will persist at least for several decades, societies must adapt to the consequences are now inevitable for our steadily warming planet. But there’s still time to take action and reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases,” he said, quoted by the Global Times.

Using a method developed in IAP/CAS, the researchers calculated the temperature of the ocean and the salinity of the oceans up to 2000 meters, recording data from all the available observations from the global database of ocean, monitored by the NOAA.

They found that in 2020, 2,000 meters higher than the world’s oceans have absorbed 20 zettajulios more than in 2019. That amount of heat could boil 1,300 million kettles, each with 1.5 liters of water.

“Why the ocean is boiling?” Cheng asked. “Because the ocean is vast. We can imagine how much energy it can absorb and contain the ocean, and, when slowly released, how big is the impact”.

The researchers reported other effects, such as the amplification of the pattern of ocean salinity and increased stratification due to warming of the upper layer more rapidly than the sections more deep. Both of these changes could cause damage to the ocean ecosystems.

“The cold gets more cold, the salty taste becomes more salty,” said Cheng. “The ocean receives a large amount of heat of global warming, dampening global warming. However, changes in ocean partners also represent a severe risk to human and natural systems”.

Cheng pointed to the forest fires of 2020 that devastated Australia, parts of the Amazon region and the west coast of the united States. “Oceans warmer, and a warmer atmosphere also promote heaviest rains in all storms, and especially hurricanes, which increases the risk of flooding,” said Cheng. “The fire extreme as those witnessed in 2020 will be even more common in the future. The oceans warm they also make the storms even more powerful, in particular the typhoons and the hurricanes”.

The researchers will continue to monitor the temperatures of the ocean and the impacts that the warming has on other ocean features, such as salinity and stratification.

As more countries commit to achieving the ‘carbon-neutral’ or ‘zero carbon’ in the next few decades, you should pay special attention to the ocean”, said Cheng. “Any activity or agreement for addressing global warming should be accompanied by the understanding that the ocean has already absorbed an immense amount of heat and will continue to absorbing the excess of energy in the Earth system until the level of atmospheric carbon is reduced significantly.”

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