top of page

Several studies indicate oceans warming and breaking heat records year after year.

Today is Thursday, February 1, 2024.

More and more scientific studies indicate the same thing: ocean warming and its consequences.

At the beginning of 2023, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States (NOAA) had already reported that in April the oceans had reached 21.1 ºC, that is, 0.1 ºC above the last record from March 2016. And probably the highest ocean temperature in more than 100,000 years. Recall "The ocean is hotter than ever: what are the consequences?" (2023 May).

We highlight two studies below, one published in 2024 and the other in 2021.

Souce: Springer Nature, January 2024

Some highlights:

  • The Tropical Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and southern oceans recorded their highest ocean heat content (OHC) observed since the 1950s.

  • Associated with the onset of a strong El Niño, the global sea surface temperature reached its "record high in 2023 with an annual mean of ~0.23°C higher than 2022 and an astounding > 0.3°C above 2022 values for the second half of 2023". And influenced also salinity anomaly patterns.

  • "The increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activities has led to an increase in longwave radiation trapped within the Earth system, resulting in an increase in the difference between incoming and outgoing radiation at the top of the atmosphere and causing an Earth Energy Imbalance (EEI) (Trenberth et al., 2014; Gulev et al., 2021). With about 90% of the excess heat accumulated in the Earth system deposited in the world’s ocean, EEI causes rising ocean temperatures and increasing ocean heat content (OHC) (Rhein et al., 2013; Johnson et al., 2018; Von Schuckmann et al., 2020; Loeb et al., 2021; Cheng et al., 2023)".

  • "In the North Pacific, high ocean temperatures fueled the atmospheric rivers and “rain bombs” that led to extensive flooding but also relief from long-standing drought in many parts of western North America. Severe flooding also occurred in New Zealand, Beijing / China, Alaska, India, Italy, Slovenia, Japan, Vermont, Kenya, and East Africa. Record heatwaves occurred in the southern United States, China, India, southern Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, France) and elsewhere. Wildfires also accompanied several areas that exhibited record heat and/or drought during 2023. Many nations set all-time temperature records and record low sea ice was recorded throughout the southern winter around Antarctica. The Atlantic hurricane season was vigorous, especially considering it was an El Niño year when storm activity would usually be suppressed. In the East Pacific, hurricane Otis developed at a record rate to a category 5 storm in less than one day before making landfall near Acapulco, Mexico, in late October. The results of many of these events have been devastating in terms of lives lost, disruption, and damage. These climatic changes have profound societal and ecological consequences (Abraham et al., 2022)."

  • Joint study involved China, United States, France, Italy, New Zealand, among numerous academic institutions such as the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, Mercator Ocean International in Toulouse, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia in Bologna, University of Auckland and the National Centers for Environmental Information at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.

Source: Jornal da USP, September 2021, after article in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Some highlights:

  • project South Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Samoc), monitors the flow of water coming from Antarctica towards the Atlantic Ocean.

  • "...accelerated warming in these waters, this means that temperatures around Antarctica are also increasing rapidly. This is a bad sign, as it suggests a worsening of the planet's climatic conditions..."

  • The ocean sequestered "the amount of energy equivalent to the explosion of a few Hiroshima bombs, every second" between 1990 and 2006.

  • Samoc created in 2007, bringing together institutions from several countries: Instituto Oceanographic USP / Fapesp, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforchung and GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research (Germany), Shirshov Institute of Oceanology (Russian Federation), Servício de Hidrografia Naval de la Armada e da Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina) e Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory do National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (United States).

It is also worth re-reading the following recent posts about factors affecting ocean temperature:


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating


“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

bottom of page