The ocean is the hottest ever recorded in 2022, analysis shows

The ocean dominates global weather patterns and the climate crisis is causing major and destructive changes

The world's oceans were the warmest ever recorded in 2022, demonstrating the large and wide-ranging changes human emissions are causing to the planet's climate.

More than 90% of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions is absorbed in the oceans. Records, starting in 1958, show an inevitable rise in sea temperatures, with warming accelerating after 1990.

Sea surface temperature is a major influence on world weather. Hotter oceans help increase extreme weather, causing more intense storms and typhoons and more moisture in the air, which leads to more intense rains and floods. Warmer water also expands, pushing up sea levels and endangering coastal cities. Ocean temperature is far less affected by natural climate variability than is atmospheric temperature, making the oceans an indisputable indicator of global warming.

Last year is expected to be the fourth or fifth hottest year on record for surface air temperature when the final data is collected. During 2022, we will see a third consecutive La Niña event, which is the colder phase of the Pacific-centered irregular climate cycle that influences global weather patterns. When El Niño returns, global temperatures will rise even higher.

The international team of scientists who produced the new ocean heat analysis concluded: "Earth's energy and water cycles have been profoundly altered due to the emission of greenhouse gases by human activities, driving widespread changes in the Earth's climate system."

Prof John Abraham, at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota and part of the study team, said: "If you want to measure global warming, you want to measure where the warming is going, and more than 90% is going into the oceans.

“Measuring the oceans is the most accurate way to determine how imbalanced our planet is.

"We're getting more extreme weather because of warmer oceans and that's having tremendous consequences around the world."

Prof Michael Mann, at the University of Pennsylvania, also part of the team, said: "Warmer oceans mean there is more potential for bigger rainfall events, as we have seen last year in Europe, Australia, and now in west coast. from the US.”

He said the analysis showed a deeper, deeper layer of warm water at the surface of the ocean: “This is causing a faster and bigger intensification of storms – something we have also seen last year – because the winds no longer churning the sub-surface waters would instead dampen the intensification. .”

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