Ris­ing ocean tem­per­a­tures in 2019 broke records: study

Global Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Zhang Hui and Chen Qingqing

Cli­mate change will be­come a more se­ri­ous ques­tion fac­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity in 2020 as global warm­ing re­sults in more ex­treme weather dis­as­ters, the Chi­nese lead author of a newly released aca­demic pa­per warned on Tues­day.

The amount of ad­di­tional heat the world’s oceans have taken in over the past 25 years was equal “to 3.6 bil­lion Hiroshima atom bomb ex­plo­sions,” Cheng Li­jing, lead author and as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the In­ter­na­tional Cen­ter for Cli­mate and En­vi­ron­men­tal Sciences at the In­sti­tute of At­mo­spheric Physics of the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences in Bei­jing, told the Global Times on Tues­day.

The pa­per, “Record-set­ting ocean warmth con­tin­ued in 2019,” was writ­ten by 14 sci­en­tists

from 11 in­sti­tutes around the world and pub­lished by the in­ter­na­tional jour­nal Ad­vances in At­mo­spheric Sciences on Mon­day.

The world’s oceans were warmer in 2019 than at any other time in recorded hu­man his­tory, the re­port finds, and the au­thors warn more cat­a­strophic fires like those that have rav­aged the Ama­zon and Aus­tralia are likely.

“Global heat­ing is one of the rea­sons for the in­crease in cat­a­strophic fires in the Ama­zon, Cal­i­for­nia and Aus­tralia in 2019, and we’re see­ing that con­tinue into 2020,” Cheng said.

The pa­per con­cludes that the past decade has been the warm­est 10 years on record for global ocean tem­per­a­tures, with each of the past five years break­ing suc­ces­sive records.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, the 2019 ocean tem­per­a­ture was about 0.075 C above the 19812010 av­er­age, and the global ocean tem­per­a­ture is not only in­creas­ing, but ris­ing more quickly.

Ocean warm­ing proved global warm­ing, Cheng as­serted, and since 1970, more than 90 per­cent of heat caused by global warm­ing was ab­sorbed by oceans, harm­ing marine life, gen­er­at­ing stronger storms, re­duc­ing fish catches and dam­ag­ing ocean-re­lated economies.

The year 2019 broke records set in pre­vi­ous years for global warm­ing, and the ef­fects were al­ready ap­pear­ing in the form of more ex­treme weather, ris­ing sea lev­els and harm to ocean an­i­mals, the au­thors noted.

And as global warm­ing in­ten­si­fies, more dis­as­ters like the Aus­tralian bush­fire will likely oc­cur, Cheng warned.

As sea lev­els rise, coastal cities world­wide es­pe­cially in Malaysia and the Mal­dives will have to deal with sub­merged land, Cheng noted.

Global cli­mate change in 2019 am­pli­fied 15 ex­treme weather dis­as­ters that cost mil­lions of dol­lars such as wild­fires in Cal­i­for­nia, Hur­ri­cane Do­rian in the Ba­hamas and the Euro­pean storm Eber­hard, ac­cord­ing to the Bri­tish char­ity Chris­tian Aid re­port released in De­cem­ber, 2019.

All of these dis­as­ters are linked with hu­man-caused cli­mate change, said the re­port by the Bri­tish char­ity.

Global chal­lenge

The Aus­tralian bush­fires, which have killed at least 27 peo­ple and a bil­lion an­i­mals, should serve as a pow­er­ful re­minder for coun­tries to take ac­tion, ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese cli­mate ex­perts in­ter­viewed by the Global Times on Tues­day.

“In 2020 and up­com­ing years, we’ll face a more se­vere cli­mate en­vi­ron­ment,” said Wang Gengchen, a re­search fel­low at the In­sti­tute of At­mo­spheric Physics of the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences.

Ex­treme weather events caused by global warm­ing will grad­u­ally in­crease, ac­cord­ing to Wang.

“How­ever, we should re­main pos­i­tive,” Wang said, “as a more se­vere sit­u­a­tion will make more peo­ple really care about this mat­ter be­fore cli­mate change causes more dam­age.”

Role of China

Au­thors of “Record-set­ting ocean warmth con­tin­ued in 2019” called for en­hanced ef­forts to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions, de­velop new en­ergy sources and tran­si­tion to a clean en­ergy so­ci­ety to help mit­i­gate the im­pact of global warm­ing and bet­ter pre­pare for the up­com­ing chal­lenges.

Coun­tries must work to­gether to slow the warm­ing of the planet, Wang said, and no mat­ter the size of a coun­try, all share a re­spon­si­bil­ity for re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions.

In­stead of blam­ing de­vel­op­ing coun­tries as emit­ters of car­bon diox­ide for heat­ing the Earth, Wang said, “de­vel­oped coun­tries should re­mem­ber they used to be the largest emit­ters dur­ing their in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and so they should pro­vide tech­nol­ogy and fi­nan­cial sup­port for de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to be­come more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly.”

In Novem­ber, the US of­fi­cially launched its with­drawal from the Paris global cli­mate change ac­cord, Wang noted, whereas China, an­other of the big­gest emit­ters, was com­mit­ted to ful­fill­ing its obli­ga­tions in help­ing re­duce green­house gases.

“In 2020 and up­com­ing years, we’ll face a more se­vere cli­mate en­vi­ron­ment.” Wang Gengchen Re­search fel­low at the In­sti­tute of At­mo­spheric Physics of the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences

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