Oceans break temperature record for the 5th consecutive year

Rising temperature trend will continue

In 2023, the oceans recorded the highest temperature in history, for the fifth consecutive year, and this warming trend will continue even if greenhouse gas emissions stop, a study indicates.

The research, published in the scientific journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, shows that the most superficial 2 thousand meters of the ocean absorbed a greater amount of heat last year than in 2022, which had already registered a record, according to the Spanish news agency EFE which cites the Chinese counterpart Xinhua.

A team of scientists, from 17 research institutes in China, the United States, New Zealand, Italy and France, concluded that the heat accumulated in the ocean in 2023 is equivalent to “boiling (the water in) 2,3 billion Olympic swimming pools” .

The researchers also calculated the salinity of the water, noting that areas of high salinity registered an increase in the proportional amount of salts, while the opposite happened in areas of low salinity, that is, “the salty becomes saltier and the sweet becomes sweeter”. .

According to the study's lead author and researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Cheng Lijing, ocean warming is a “fundamental indicator” for quantifying the impacts of climate change, as “more than 90% of global heat ends up in the oceans.”

“The oceans also control how quickly Earth’s climate changes. To know what happened or what will happen to the planet, the answers can be found in the oceans”, said the scientist, quoted by Xinhua.

The study indicates that high ocean temperatures “will reduce oxygen in seawater and its ability to absorb carbon dioxide”, which will have “serious consequences” for marine, plant and animal life.

On the other hand, the additional heat and humidity reaching the atmosphere increases the severity of storms, with more intense rain and stronger winds, which cause more significant flooding.

Researchers consider that ocean warming is an irreversible phenomenon that will continue throughout the century, even if greenhouse gas emissions are stopped, and therefore advocate greater focus on adapting to climate change.

To avoid climate disasters, Cheng calls for strengthening resources to monitor the climate and improving forecasting and early warning systems.