Perhaps climate skeptics should be forced to walk the plank — so they can feel for themselves where so much of the globe’s extra heat is ending up.
The mainstream media repeatedly uttered the false but reassuring-sounding phrase “global warming pause” last year, a reference to an unexpected decline in the rate at which land temperatures have been recently warming, but meanwhile temperatures in the world’s oceans were spiking.
Just check out this graph from NOAA, which shows the rise in the amount of energy in the top 2,300 feet (700 meters) of the world’s oceans:
Long-term the oceans have been gaining heat at a rate equivalent to about 2 Hiroshima bombs per second, although this has increased over the last 16 or so years to around 4 per second. In 2013 ocean warming rapidly escalated, rising to a rate in excess of 12 Hiroshima bombs per second — over three times the recent trend.
Rising ocean temperatures might not seem as significant for us humans as rising land temperatures, but they actually affect us in lots of ways. Warming marine environments are disturbing wildlife the world over, driving fish to cooler and deeper waters — and that is affecting fishing industries.
The heating waters can also fuel hurricanes and other wild storms. Water temperatures around the Philippines rose nearly 2 degrees F last year just before Typhoon Haiyan hit, which helped whip up the monster storm.
And it’s worth remembering that water expands when it heats up, which leads to rising seas. In some subtropical areas, increasing water temperatures are believed to be responsible for sea-level rise of as much as a millimeter every year. Here’s the latest NOAA graph showing how much seas are rising, on average, due to warming oceans (this is called steric sea-level rise):
So the next time somebody bends your ear about a supposed “global warming pause,” just show them these two graphs.
- Global Ocean Heat and Salt Content , NOAA
- The Oceans Warmed up Sharply in 2013: We're Going to Need a Bigger Graph , Skeptical Science