Scientists have warned that in 2017 the world's oceans reached the highest temperatures ever recorded.
Research by a team of Chinese experts found that the upper 2,000 meters of ocean water were much warmer in 2017 than the previous warmest year in 2015.
The findings, published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, show that China's annual electricity generation is 699 times less than the increase in heat in the oceans last year.
"The long-term warming trend driven by human activities continued unabated," wrote research authors Lijing Cheng and Jian Zhu.
Writing in The Guardian newspaper, Professor John Abraham, a thermal science expert at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota, said that the dramatic rise in temperatures made 2017 by far the hottest year on record for the world's oceans. world.
The findings also come after previous research showed that levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have risen to record levels in 2017.
Last year was also one of the hottest ever on record.
Scientists have reported that 2017 was the second or third warmest year, depending on the data set analyzed, and the warmest year without El Niño, a natural phase of the climate system that results in warmer temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.
Cheng and Zhu said that more than 90 percent of the Earth's residual heat related to global warming was absorbed by the oceans, and the heat record "robustly represents the signature of global warming."
The authors analyzed the history of ocean warming over the past 60 years to compare the data.
They added that ocean warming measurements were a more reliable indicator than atmospheric measurements for tracking "vital signs of the planet's health."
According to the ocean analysis of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, the last five years have been the warmest years in the oceans.
Professor Abraham echoed the authors' comments, saying that the fact that 2017 was the warmest year for the oceans "does not prove that humans are warming the planet," but rather that "the long upward trend going back several decades ago it shows global warming ”.
The increase in ocean heat in 2017 was found to occur in most regions of the world, but the authors found that the Atlantic and southern oceans warmed more than the Pacific and Indian oceans.
According to scientists, the rise in temperature causes the volume of the oceans to expand, which contributes to the global rise in sea level.
Other notable impacts of warming oceans include declining ocean oxygen, bleaching of coral reefs, and melting of sea ice and ice shelves.
“The point is that the effects of global warming are not just academic; They are real, ”said Professor Abraham.
By David Twomey
Original article (in English)