Science

2022 Record Ocean Heat Temperature

Ocean temperatures continued to rise in 2022 according to the latest information from two international datasets: from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who analyse observations of ocean heat content and their impact dating from the 1950s.

Tim Boyer, a senior researcher from NCEI/NOAA explained:

“Both IAP and NCEI data show a consistent message that upper 2000m ocean heat content hits a record high value in 2022″.

 A new record of 0-2000m ocean heat content (OHC) was set and recorded in 2022, with an addition of approximately ~10 Zetta joules (ZJ) of heat into the ocean than 2021. A Zetta joule is a joule (unit to measure “work” or “heat”) with 21 zeros behind it.

10 ZJ of heat is equal to ~100 times world electricity generation in 2021 (28466 TWH), ~325 times China’ 2021 electricity production (8537 TWH), ~634 times United States’ 2021 electricity production (4381 TWH). 10 ZJ of heat can also boil 700 million 1.5L kettle for every second in the past year.

Accompanying the increase in temperature is an increase in salinity – the ocean is getting saltier.

Lijing Cheng, researcher for the IAP/CAS said:

“Global warming continues and is manifested in record ocean heat, and also in continued extremes of salinity. The latter highlight that salty areas get saltier, and fresh areas get fresher and so there is a continuing increase in intensity of the hydrological cycle.” 

The increasing saltiness and therefore stratification of the oceans can alter how heat, carbon, and oxygen are exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere above it.

This is a factor that can cause ocean deoxygenation, or loss of oxygen, within the water. Deoxygenation itself is a nightmare for not only marine life and ecosystems but also for humans and our terrestrial ecosystems.

Click on this link to access the paper: Another Year of Record Heat for the Oceans published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

Image credit Bell