With the pandemic and shutdowns of every region in the world, we’ve seen a decrease in global carbon emissions. This is mostly due to less travel, and more businesses closed down. The world has been on this pause mode for some time now, and the environment is seeing a significant change because of this pause.
While the global carbon emissions are down, the water in the ocean seems to continue rising. Most recently the upper ocean temperatures hit a record high. Since more than 80% of the extra heat due to climate warming is soaked up in the ocean waters, this makes sense. The temperature of our ocean is always a good indicator that global warming is indeed occurring, even with lower carbon emissions.
A recent study in 2020 conducted by 20 scientists from 13 institutes has concluded that the upper ocean temperature has hit an all-time high. The last time our upper ocean temperatures were this high was in 1955, which means global warming is happening regardless of what we seem to do.
Many people wonder why the ocean isn’t boiling. The upper ocean temperatures are showing us a significant increase in temperatures but the data is collected at various points in the ocean and they typically go down only 2,000 meters.
Due to the vast size and depth of the ocean, it’s not going to boil like a pot of water on your stove. This high upper ocean water temperature doesn’t mean that the entire ocean or deep ocean water temperatures read the same temperature. Most scientists just document the upper water temperature as an indicator to show whether global warming is occurring and what impact it is having on our oceans.
The changes in the upper ocean temperature and lower temperatures in the deeper sections of the ocean are starting to play a huge factor in our ecosystem issues. There’s a severe risk to human and natural systems when the oceans reach these high temperatures.
Warmer oceans and warmer atmospheric conditions can cause more rainfall in various areas while other areas, such as we’ve seen recently in Australia and the West Coast of the United States tend to be dryer and have more forest fires. These wildfires are out of control and can ruin natural and human homes leaving our world a tad bit off-kilter.
While we can’t control the temperature of the ocean, we can pay attention to the signs that global warming is occurring. Global warming is playing a huge factor in how much rain we get, how hot our atmosphere is, and what type of weather patterns we have in various areas of the world.
As more countries pledge to become carbon neutral, scientists hope that the upper ocean temperatures will cool to a normal range, thus helping reduce the severe risks a hot ocean plays on our natural ecosystem.