The world’s oceans have reached record heat in recent months. The oceans in this warming world are being pushed higher every year due to human-caused global warming. Scientists think that El Niño weather patterns could be to blame, and the record heat of the sea is considered worrying. This ocean warming has a big impact on marine life, the intensity of storms, and so on.
The warming of sea water is caused by heat to the earth’s atmosphere that arises because humans burn large amounts of fossil fuels, and carry out many activities that pump carbon dioxide. Since around the 1970s, the oceans have sucked up more than 90 percent of all the excess heat energy trapped by CO2.
Warming seas are also hurting marine life. Most of the ocean’s inhabitants, live in the upper reaches of the ocean, where temperatures are increasing the fastest. Many of these marine inhabitants are sensitive to small or short-lived temperature changes. Like corals, this warming can stress and “bleach” corals, indicating that they are regurgitating the symbiotic algae that live inside them and giving them a lot of energy.
Not only to marine life, warmer oceans also create stronger storms. Scientists predict that warmer oceans could make hurricanes and tropical cyclones more intense in the future, increasing the likelihood that they can release huge volumes of rain.
Ocean warming is also pushing sea levels higher. Warm water needs more space, so as the oceans warm, they expand, causing sea levels to creep up. Thermal expansion contributes to about half of all sea level rise, more than the melting of ice from either Greenland or Antarctica or any of the world’s glaciers.
Source: National Geography