Warming of oceans is a menacing issue and we have repeatedly covered how it is threatening the lives of millions of marine animals and plants. As a general understanding, we know the temperatures are rising in both land and ocean because of global warming (at least those of us who understand this imminent threat, knows).
But we don’t really know the scale at which the ocean is heating up. A recent study by a group of international scientists has just revealed the magnitude by which the ocean temperatures have during the 1950 to 2019 time period. While the study comes as an irrefutable proof for global warming it does not look good for the future of our planet.
The study published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on Monday has revealed to us that last year alone the oceans have absorbed a record amount of heat. According to John Abraham, an engineering professor specializing in thermal sciences at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and co-author of the study, “It’s about 5 Hiroshima bombs of heat, every second, day and night, 365 days a year,”.
Another way to describe how much heat humans are pumping into the oceans from greenhouse gas emissions: Give every person on the planet 100 hairdryers and have them aim them at all at the oceans, 24 hours a day, all year, says Abraham.
The study reports that in the last 40 years, the world’s oceans have already warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.56 ℃) at the surface. This might seem like a small change. But it’s not. There are two aspects to this. Primarily a temperature change of this magnitude disrupts the ecological balance of the marine ecosystem.
Then there is also the energy consideration. 71 percent of Earth’s surface is taken up by oceans. That’s a huge amount of water in terms of mass. The energy required to bring even one-degree temperature change is off the charts.
To reach the temperature of the levels we see today, the researchers estimate 228 sextillion Joules’ worth of energy must be added to the oceans. That is an incredible amount of energy.
“The Hiroshima atom-bomb exploded with an energy of about 63,000,000,000,000 Joules. The amount of heat we have put in the world’s oceans in the past 25 years equals 3.6 billion Hiroshima atom-bomb explosions” says author Lijing Cheng from the Chinese Academy of Sciences to put things in perspective.
To make matters worse the rate at which this temperature rise occurs keeps increasing each passing year. In the study, it is mentioned that from 1987 to 2019, oceans have warmed four and a half times faster than they did between 1955 and 1986.
As oceans heat up, ice starts melting quickly causing water to expand and sea level to rise. Hotter oceans create more humidity paving the way for supercharged thunderstorms. In short, it is a recipe for catastrophe.
In Abraham’s words “This is really impacting us and it’s going to be devastating. But the other piece of it is it’s not too late to do something about it. The longer we delay, the harder and more expensive it will be, but we can still take action to make it less bad.”