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Oceans absorbed enough energy to boil 'billions of Olympic swimming pools'

Oceans absorbed enough energy to boil 'billions of Olympic swimming pools'

The oceans, which store most of the excess heat from greenhouse gas emissions, will still have absorbed a huge amount of energy in 2023, equivalent to that needed to boil “billions of Olympic swimming pools,” according to a benchmark study on Thursday. .

France Press agency

Through feedback, part of the enormous energy contained in the seas has warmed the atmosphere and made 2023 the hottest year in history, with its climate catastrophes, recalls this abstract published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences by 19 Researchers, especially from American, Chinese and Italian universities.

The oceans, which cover 70% of the planet's surface, are a major regulator of Earth's climate because they absorb about 90% of excess heat generated by human activity.

In contrast, “a warmer ocean leads to a warmer, more humid atmosphere, with more unpredictable weather,” the magazine’s press release asserts.

In 2023, the total heat contained in the oceans between the surface and 2,000 meters depth will reach a new record, with an addition of about 9 or 15 zettajoules compared to 2022, according to estimates by the National Atmospheric Agency and the US National Oceanic Institute (NOAA). ) and the Chinese Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP), which the study revealed.

Zetajoule corresponds to the joule, the unit of energy measurement, with 21 zeros behind it.

“Every year, the entire world uses about half a zettajoule of energy to power our economies. In other words, 15 zettajoules is enough energy to boil 2.3 billion Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Ocean energy is a crucial indicator for monitors of global warming, because it is significantly less affected by natural climate fluctuations than ocean surface temperatures.

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The latter has continued to break seasonal records since April, due to the long-term impact of this excess heat accumulating in the depths, but also due to the return in 2023 of a strong El Niño episode, which is expected to peak in 2023. Early 2024 in the Pacific Ocean.

Warming seas leads to increased water salinity and stratification (separation of water into different layers) of the oceans, which changes the exchange of heat, carbon and oxygen between the oceans and the atmosphere.

In turn, these phenomena can modify currents, on which the weather depends, but they also reduce oxygen in the water and threaten marine life as well as reduce the ability to absorb greenhouse gas emissions in the seas.

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