I hate to be the bearer of even more bad news but climate change is still happening, and it’s led to the world recording its hottest ever ocean temperatures.
According to a paper co-authored by 23 scientists, 2021 saw the ocean temperature reach the warmest in the history of human recordings. And, of the Indian, Tropical Atlantic, North Atlantic, North Pacific, Northwest Pacific and Southern oceans and the Mediterranean sea, four have reported record-high heats.
Cool, Cool, Cool.
Plus, even more yikes is the fact that this is the SIXTH year in a row that the ocean’s temperature record has been broken.
The paper explains that this temperature rise is the direct result of humans, which tragically isn’t at all surprising.
“The increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activities traps heat within the climate system and increases ocean heat content (OHC),” said the paper’s abstract.
Basically, the excess of greenhouse gases we’ve produced has created a barrier of gas (like your great aunt on Christmas) which stops the heat produced on earth from escaping into outer space, instead rebounding it back into the ocean like an apocalyptic game of ping pong.
Also, this level of heat is despite our good pal La Niña who doesn’t just make it rain, but also usually helps cool much of the Pacific ocean.
So, the fact that water heat levels are this high despite Ms Niña is very much concerning news.
According to the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) climate hub, there are some really serious consequences for rising ocean temps.
Warm water expands — shout out Year 9 science — meaning that increased ocean temps contribute to rising sea-levels. It also contributes to the destruction of sea ice and ice shelves which, when they melt, also add to the rising sea levels.
Finally, increased water temperatures fucks up marine ecosystems, including the bleaching of coral reefs.
Michael Mann, a climate scientist from Pennsylvania State University and a co-author of the study said that these rising temps won’t change without human action.
“Until we reach net zero emissions, that heating will continue, and we’ll continue to break ocean heat content records, as we did this year. Better awareness and understanding of the oceans are a basis for the actions to combat climate change.”
Are ya listening, Scott Morrison? Actually, are ya listening, any politician who actually wants us to vote for them in the next federal election?
While it’s great that the nation at large is holding our leaders to account over COVID-19, let’s make sure we’re still doing our best to hold them account over this shit too.