Wednesday October 19, 2022


A research study just published in Nature Reviews provides new information about how much the planet has warmed and what warming we may expect in the coming decades. This study is important because it motivates us to take actions to mitigate and respond to climate change. It shows what will happen if we don’t take action to slow global warming.

As humans emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it causes the Earth to warm. The vast majority of heat ends up in the ocean (more than 90%). So, to understand how fast the Earth’s climate is changing, we must look to the ocean and track ocean heat content change. The ocean provides the key to understanding both our past and our future. Ocean warming also connects energy, carbon, and water cycles, as it is a key component of the Earth system.

This comprehensive review involved scientists from around the world and included leading institutions in China, France, USA, Australia, and the U.K. The authors collected temperature information from the world’s ocean using a variety of temperature sensors. Some of these temperature sensors are manually placed in the oceans by researchers, others are deployed by cargo vessels, and many are autonomous devices that float in the ocean or are tethered, like a buoy or mooring. By combining many thousands of temperature measurements spread across the globe, the scientists were able to piece together a clear picture of global ocean heat content change back to the 1950s.

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