[Vision2020] 1-11-22 Advances in Atmospheric Sciences: Another Record: Ocean Warming Continues through 2021 despite La Niña Conditions

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Fri Jan 28 15:37:46 PST 2022

Much of the thermal energy trapped in the Earth's biosphere from increased
greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, from human emission sources, has ended
up warming our oceans.  The atmospheric warming is only a part of the
anthropogenic climate change problem.  Once the Earth's oceans warm
significantly, covering about 70-71 percent of global surface area, this
portends long term climate effects which will not suddenly stop, even if
humanity ceases all greenhouse gas emissions.

Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett




The increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from
human activities traps heat within the climate system and increases ocean
heat content (OHC). Here, we provide the first analysis of recent OHC
changes through 2021 from two international groups. The world ocean, in
2021, was the hottest ever recorded by humans, and the 2021 annual OHC
value is even higher than last year’s record value by 14 ± 11 ZJ (1 zetta J
= 1021 J) using the IAP/CAS dataset and by 16 ± 10 ZJ using NCEI/NOAA
dataset. The long-term ocean warming is larger in the Atlantic and Southern
Oceans than in other regions and is mainly attributed, via climate model
simulations, to an increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.
The year-to-year variation of OHC is primarily tied to the El Niño-Southern
Oscillation (ENSO). In the seven maritime domains of the Indian, Tropical
Atlantic, North Atlantic, Northwest Pacific, North Pacific, Southern
oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea, robust warming is observed but with
distinct inter-annual to decadal variability. Four out of seven domains
showed record-high heat content in 2021. The anomalous global and regional
ocean warming established in this study should be incorporated into climate
risk assessments, adaptation, and mitigation.
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