Chinese researchers eye ocean temperatures

The year 2018 was the hottest year ever recorded for the global ocean, according to a new study published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China.

The study sheds new light on how much oceanic water temperatures have been changing over the years, researchers at the Institute said.

The change in ocean heat content is considered to be one of the best ways to measure climate change driven by greenhouse gasses emitted by human activities. This is because the global warming is driven by Earth’s energy imbalance due to more greenhouse passes in the air, and the vast majority of global warming heat is deposited in the world’s oceans.

The ocean heat record is less impacted by natural fluctuations and is a robust indicator of climate change, so the record-breaking ocean heat record serves as direct evidence for global warming and represents a basis for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, the research team said.

According to the lead author of the report, Lijing Cheng, the new data, together with a rich body of literature, “serve as an additional warning to both the government and general public that we are experiencing inevitable global warming. The Ocean and global warming have already taken place and caused serious damage and losses to both the economy and society,” he said.

The researchers predicted that ocean water temperatures would continue to rise, resulting in rising sea level, which comes with its own consequences, including salt water contaminating fresh water wells. Other consequences of increased ocean water temperatures include bleaching and death of corals, melting sea ice, increasing marine heat waves, as well as impacts on natural variability.


Study conclusions were published in mid-January in EurekAlert, the online journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.