February 4, 2023

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Oceans are warming, complete record in 2022

2022 marks a new all-time high for ocean warming, the seventh consecutive year of rising temperatures, along with increased stratification and water salinity variability, a recent study reveals. Published in the journal “Advances in Atmospheric Science”.

According to the study, the heat content of the oceans between the surface and 2,000 meters deep in 2022 exceeded the previous record value reached in 2021, an increase of about 10 zetta joules (ZJ) or 10 x 1021 joule, l unit of measurement. Energy and heat, this amount will be about 100 times the world’s electricity production by 2021, scientists say.

A continuous increase in temperature always combines with a high degree of salinity and an increase in stratification, that is, the separation of water into layers, which can reduce until the cancellation of mixing and exchanges between the surface and deep zones, it is underlined.

“Global warming of the ocean continues and reveals both new records for water heat content and new extreme values ​​for salinity,” explained the study’s lead author, Professor Lijing Cheng of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. .

Among the various effects of changes in the heat content, salinity and stratification of the oceans, the researchers specifically cite a change in the way heat, carbon and oxygen are exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere.

“This is a factor that can cause oxidation in the water column, which is of great concern not only to marine life and ecosystems, but also to humans and terrestrial ecosystems.

“All of these contribute to the reduction of marine biodiversity, for example by displacing important fish species, stressing fishing communities and their economies, creating a ripple effect in the way people interact with their environment,” the study notes.

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At the same time, weather anomalies have become evident in 2022, especially in Western Europe, where repeated heat waves will be remembered, combined with new temperature records at several times of the year, combined with a significant reduction in precipitation.

The drought resulting from this situation in these regions had a negative impact not only on agricultural activities, but also on people’s quality of life (due to high energy consumption for air conditioning and power generation), and the risk of fire, flooding in other areas, often supported by increased evaporation in warmer oceans.