2017 Officially The Warmest Year On Record

Global ocean heat content, a robust indicator of global warming, reached its highest recorded levels in 2017.

AsianScientist (Jan. 25, 2018) – In a study published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, scientists in China revealed that 2017 was the warmest year on record for oceans around the world.

90 percent of the Earth’s residual heat related to global warming is absorbed by the ocean. As such, the record of global ocean heat content robustly represents the signature of global warming and is less impacted by weather-related noise and climate variability, such as El Niño and La Niña events.

In this study, scientists at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Science found that the last five years have been the five warmest years in the ocean, evidence that long term climate change driven by human activities continues unabated.

Compared to the 1981-2010 climatological reference period, the oceans were 19.19 × 1022 joules warmer in 2017. Furthermore, in 2017, the upper 2,000 meters of oceans were 1.51 × 1022 joules warmer than the second warmest year, in 2015. This increase in ocean heat corresponds to a 1.7 millimeter rise in global sea levels.

Beyond causing sea levels to rise, higher temperatures of the ocean result in declining oxygen content in water bodies, the bleaching of coral reefs and the melting of sea ice and ice shelves. These have detrimental effects on marine ecosystem and, ultimately, human lives, warranting urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the globe.

The article can be found at: Cheng & Zhu (2018) 2017 Was the Warmest Year on Record for the Global Ocean.


Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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