Extremely rapid increase in ocean temperature scares scientists shutterstock

Extremely rapid increase in ocean temperature scares scientists

Anna Velyka

Record ocean temperatures indicate that seas are warming faster than expected, and the effects of these changes will be felt everywhere, from polar ice shelves to coastal cities around the world

Scientists cannot model changes in the rate of ocean surface warming. Assumptions made on the basis of previous models do not work. However, scientists believe it is clear that ocean warming is already harming both people and ecosystems.

This is stated in a report prepared by the BBC News climate and science team.

Currently, our oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the heat trapped in the Earth's atmosphere due to rising greenhouse gas emissions. But recently, the rate of warming has been extraordinary.

Every day since the end of March 2023, global ocean surface temperatures have set new records for the hottest temperature ever recorded on that day.

This rapid warming raises a puzzle for scientists: Why is recent ocean warming even greater than models suggest?

"The gradual change in ocean temperature over the past year is huge. The fact that we can't model these gradual changes and understand why it's happening is terrifying," says Hayley Fowler, a professor of climate science at the University of Newcastle in the UK.

However, it is clear that ocean warming is already harming both people and ecosystems. In the summer of 2023, buoys off the coast of Florida recorded temperatures that were hotter than a hot tub. Coral reefs are currently experiencing their fourth bleaching on the entire planet, which will be the most extensive.

Michael McFadden, an oceanographer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States, names two main factors that cause the rapid heating of the ocean. First, it is that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is constantly increasing. The second is the 2023 El Niño phenomenon, when surface waters in the tropical Pacific were warmer than average, leading to increased evaporation and a significant transfer of heat to the atmosphere.

According to the EU climate and weather monitoring service Copernicus, in 2023 average temperatures exceeded the pre-industrial period by 1.52​​°C.

As byEcoPolitic previously reported, the currents of the Atlantic Ocean may stop due to climate change.

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