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Ocean warmth sets record high in 2021 due to greenhouse gas emissions

Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
the University of St. Thomas
El Niño
the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Pennsylvania State University
the Copernicus Climate Change Service
the European Union

John Abraham
La Niña
Lijing Cheng
Linda Rasmussen
Hurricane Ida
Michael Mann


the Atlantic Ocean
Pacific Ocean
Indian Ocean
the East Coast
the Gulf of Mexico
the North Pacific —
The North Pacific
Southern California

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United States

Hurricane Nicholas

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The New York Times
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Again.A new analysis, published Tuesday in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, showed that oceans contained the most heat energy in 2021 since measurements began six decades ago — accelerating at a rate only possible because of human-emitted greenhouse gases.Since the late 1980s, Earth’s oceans warmed at a rate eight times faster than the preceding decades.“When you have this long-term upward trend, you’re getting records broken almost every year and it’s this monotonous increase,” said John Abraham, a co-author of the study and a professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. The longer-term trends brought on by human activity are also overpowering short-term climate fluctuations, such as La Niña and El Niño, which can have regional effects.“Ocean stores more than 90% of the Earth’s net heat gain due to greenhouse gases, thus ocean warming is a fundamental indicator of the climate change,” Lijing Cheng, lead author and associate professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, wrote in an email. However, Rasmussen said, observations and analysis of more than 100 years of data in Southern California have shown that marine heat waves in the region have become more severe with time.“The coastal ocean temperatures that have broken records repeatedly in recent years would not have broken records without the underlying warming trend that has been in place for many decades,” wrote Rasmussen, a retired researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

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