Record-Breaking Ocean Warming in 2018 May Lead to Catastrophic Consequences in the Future

We humans now should be ready for direct catastrophic consequences for our self-made greenhouse gas emissions. Our oceans broke heat records last year (2018) which was the hottest year ever measured with a rising trend.

The oceans are the key to the measurements of global warming as they absorb 90% and more of the heat resulting from greenhouse gases. We have to measure ocean warming to measure global warming, and this is the most convincing way to measure climate change.

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Climate scientists found oceans as the most important research areas that play a critical role in global warming. They can track the effects of GHG emissions consistently by average ocean temperatures as they lack fluctuation by short-term patterns of weather.

According to Zeke Hausfather, an energy systems analyst at the independent climate research group Berkeley Earth,

Oceans are really the best thermometer we have for changes in the Earth.

Air temperatures also reported as evidence of global warming, but they are very erratic. However, there is a long-term trend of higher air temperatures warmer or colder than the previous years that certainly taken as a factor of measuring global warming.

That is why oceans will tell you the actual story. The last five years were the hottest five years on record and the extra ocean heat in 2018 compared to a 1981-2010 baseline was 196,700,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules. The rate of ocean warming now is equivalent to exploding of 5 Hiroshima-size atomic bombs per second.

In an article published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences by the lead author Lijing Cheng, and his colleagues from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics in China, a chart of ocean heat since the late 1950s shown a steady increase. Cheng’s collaborators include researchers from around the world.

An incontrovertible proof of global warming is Ocean warming, and the consequences are fatal. When water is warm, it expands, and this expansion causes sea levels to rise. The heat absorbed by the oceans causes one-third rise in ocean waters. By the end of the century, scientists expect a one-meter increase in sea level that is enough to displace 150 million people around the world.

Ocean warming also makes storms powerful. The hurricanes that pass over hot ocean waters become supercharged and cause damage in an increasing rate. We witnessed more catastrophic effects in Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in 2018 in the US recently. Warm waters lead to other kinds of storms also including stronger and heavy downpouring of rainfall that causes flooding hugely worldwide.

On the other hand, oceans are safeguarding us. Oceans are acting as the buffer for the planet by absorbing 93 percent of the heat generated because of the GHG emissions by humans. “If the ocean wasn’t absorbing as much heat, the surface of the land would heat up much faster than it is right now,” said Malin L. Pinsky, an associate professor in the department of ecology, evolution and natural resources at Rutgers University. “In fact, the ocean is saving us from massive warming right now,” he added.

We are all responsible for the loss of life and property which is the result of our created emissions of greenhouse gases. Denying the science and the solutions means taking personal accountability of the fact that history will judge harshly.

It’s not that we humans are suffering and will suffer more in the future. Sea life is also suffering tremendously from heating of the oceans especially coral reefs. Increasing water temperatures are destroying marine ecosystems. We will lose more of these reefs and other sea life population with an increasing trend of global warming.

The scientists are trying hard. Every year they are presenting us with the science and pleading for action. Unfortunately, actions taken are far from what actually needed. We can tackle climate change only if we start to act immediately. Although we can make a difference, we seem to lack the will.

Arindom Ghosh

A professional writer, blogger, copywriter, and a member of the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors, New York. He has been part of many reputed domestic and global online magazines and publications. An avid reader and a nature lover by heart, when he is not working, he is probably exploring the secrets of life.