Ocean temperatures in 2019 were higher than ever, capping the end of a decade that contained all 10 of the hottest years ever recorded, according to new research.
The oceans absorb 90 percent of the excess heat trapped in the atmosphere by human greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, the ocean is ruthlessly accurate in tracking the “irrefutable and accelerating” progression of climate change. The last five years also included the five hottest ever seen in the oceans, the Guardian reports.
The heat energy absorbed by the oceans raised its temperature to about 0.135 degrees Fahrenheit above the 1981-2010 average in 2019. The heat energy that human activity has bombarded the oceans with over the last 25 years is equivalent to the detonation of 3.6 billion Hiroshima atomic bombs, lead author Lijing Cheng said in a press release.
“The oceans are really what tells you how fast the Earth is warming,” John Abraham, one of the authors of the new paper, told the Guardian. “Using the oceans, we see a continued, uninterrupted and accelerating warming rate of planet Earth. This is dire news.”