Science

Ocean heat hits record high: UN

PTI Geneva | Updated on March 29, 2019 Published on March 29, 2019

About 93 per cent of excess heat, trapped around the Earth by greenhouse gases that come from the burning of fossil fuels, accumulates in the world’s oceans. Representative image   -  Reuters

“2018 saw new records for ocean heat content in the upper 700 metres”

Ocean heat hit a record high in 2018, the United Nations said on Thursday, raising urgent new concerns about the threat global warming is posing to marine life.

In its latest State of the Climate overview, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reaffirmed that the last four years had been the hottest on record - figures previously announced in provisional drafts of the flagship report. But the final version of the report highlighted worrying developments in other climate indicators beyond surface temperature. “2018 saw new records for ocean heat content in the upper 700 metres,” a WMO statement said.

The agency said the UN had data for heat content in the upper 700 metres (2,290 feet) of the ocean dating back to 1955. Last year also saw new heat records for the ocean’s upper 2,000 metres, but data for that range only goes back to 2005. The previous records for both ranges were set in 2017.

About 93 per cent of excess heat, trapped around the Earth by greenhouse gases that come from the burning of fossil fuels, accumulates in the world’s oceans. Research published earlier this year in the US journal Science showed that warming in the oceans is on pace with measurements of rising air temperature.

Some models predict the temperature of the top 2,000 metres of world’s oceans will rise nearly 0.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century if nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to Science. Oceans are also not warming evenly across the planet.

The WMO report said the highest rates of ocean warming are occurring in the southern ocean, where warming has also reached the deepest layers. This could result in sea levels being substantially different in different places, experts have previously said. The thermal expansion -- water swelling as it warms -- is expected to raise sea levels 12 inches (30 centimetres), above any sea level rise from melting glaciers and ice sheets, according to the research published in Science.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who launched the WMO report in New York, said its findings confirmed the urgency of climate action. “There is no longer any time for delay,” he warned, stressing that nations needed to come to his Climate Action Summit in September with “concrete, realistic plans” to reduce emissions.

Published on March 29, 2019

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.