World’s Oceans Last Year Hit Hottest Temperatures Ever Recorded… ‘By Far’

Experts say the data indicates that humans must urgently “reduce the heating of our planet by using energy more wisely and increasing the use of clean and renewable energy.”

byJessica Corbett, staff writer CommonDreams

Robert Simmon, NASA. Modifications by Robert A. Rohde • Public domain

A new analysis conducted by Chinese researchers and published in a peer-reviewed journal on Friday found that 2017 was the hottest year on record for the world’s oceans, renewing concerns among those in the scientific community about the man-made climate crisis.

“The long-term warming trend driven by human activities continued unabated,” the researchers, Lijing Cheng and Jiang Zhu, wrote (pdf) in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. “The high ocean temperatures in recent years have occurred as greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere have also risen, reaching record highs in 2017.”

While measuring atmospheric temperature changes provides insight into humankind’s impact on the planet—and recent reports show 2017 was the second-hottest year on record—”in terms of understanding how fast the Earth is warming, the key is the oceans,” because almost all the planet’s heat is stored in the seas, as John Abraham, a professor of thermal sciences, explains in a piece for the Guardian.

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