The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
2018 Was the Hottest Year Ever Recorded for Our Oceans
The year 2018 was the hottest year for the planet's oceans ever since record-keeping began in 1958, according to a worrisome new study from international scientists.
The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, noted that the five warmest years for our oceans were the last five years—2018, 2017, 2015, 2016 and 2014 (in order of decreasing ocean heat content).
This increase in ocean heat is "incontrovertible proof that the Earth is warming," the study states.
To illustrate, the heat increase from 2017 to 2018 alone is roughly 388 times more than China's total electricity generation in 2017, according to a press release of the study.
"The new data, together with a rich body of literature, serve as an additional warning to both the government and the general public that we are experiencing inevitable global warming," lead author Lijing Cheng, an oceanographer from the Beijing's Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said in the release.
A slew of recent scientific reports have sounded the alarm on our warming oceans. The same group of scientists behind the current study revealed in Science last week that the world's oceans are warming about 40 percent faster than previously thought.
Also this month, a different team of scientists showed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the average heating of the oceans in the last 150 years was equivalent to the dropping of 1.5 atomic bombs per second.
Earth's seas, which absorb more than 90 percent of the extra solar energy trapped by greenhouse gasses, are vital to our existence. This continued ocean warming has potentially devastating consequences, including sea level rise, stronger and wetter storms and melting polar ice. Marine life, especially coral reefs, are also vulnerable.
"The ocean and global warming have already taken place and caused serious damage and losses to both the economy and society," Cheng said in the press release.
The researchers, who predict that ocean heat will continue to rise, urged immediate action to slow this alarming trend.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis
Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.
Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.
The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.
By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.
By Mark Hertsgaard
The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."