January 16, 2020

Ocean is warming at rate of 5 nuclear bombs a second


A diver looks at the coral reefs of the Society Islands in French Polynesia.

A diver looks at the coral reefs of the Society Islands in French Polynesia.

The amount of heat pumped into the ocean by climate change is equivalent to five Hiroshima explosions per second.

That’s according to scientists, who warn that Earth’s oceans hit record high temperatures last year as global warming tightened its grip on our planet.

An international team of climate buffs analyzed sea temperature data from the 1950s through to 2019. They showed that last year, our oceans were 0.075C hotter than the 1981-2010 average.

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That might not seem a lot, but when you consider the enormous scale of Earth’s oceans, it required a staggering amount of heat equivalent to 228 sextillion (that’s 238 followed by 21 zeros) Joules’ worth of energy.

One scientist attempted to quantify this by comparing it to the energy released by the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

“The Hiroshima atom-bomb exploded with an energy of about 63trillion Joules,” Dr Lijing Cheng from the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a press release.

“The amount of heat we have put in the world’s oceans in the past 25 years equals to 3.6billion Hiroshima atom-bomb explosions.”

In 2019, ocean warming was equivalent to “about five Hiroshima bombs of heat, every second, day and night, 365 days a year,” study author Professor John Abraham, from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, told Vice.

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The team’s shock readings were taken from a network of more than 3,800 buoys spread across the planet.

Our oceans absorb 90 percent of the heat that humans add to the atmosphere, making them a good barometer for man-made climate change.

Researchers blamed global warming for rising sea temperatures, which threaten to cause catastrophic sea-level rises over the next century.

Melting ice in the polar regions could lead to rises of up to 11ft by 2100 if oceans heat up by 4C, according to some estimates.

This would turf hundreds of millions from their homes and create a “climate refugee” emergency.

The clear up and management of such a catastrophe would put such a strain on the US military that it risks collapsing, a recent Pentagon report warmed.

And if that wasn’t enough, rising ocean temperatures could even trigger massive storms across the planet.

“It makes hurricanes and typhoons more powerful and it makes rainfall more intense,” Professor Abraham said. “It puts our weather on steroids.”

He added that the energy we add to the ocean each second is equivalent to every person on Earth constantly pointing 100 hairdryers at the sea.

“The less technical term is: It’s a sh*t-ton of energy,” Professor Abraham said. He added that though a lot of damage was inevitable, there is still time to limit the effects of the climate crisis.

“This is really impacting us and it’s going to be devastating,” Professor Abraham said. “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.”

The research was published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

Source: New York Post

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