Climate change pushed ocean temperatures to record high in 2020, study finds

The world’s oceans absorbed 20 sextillion joules of heat due to climate change in 2020 and warmed to record levels, a study has found.

That quantity — expressed numerically as 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules — is equivalent to the energy from 10 Hiroshima atomic bombs being released every second of the year.

Report co-author Kevin Trenberth, from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, said oceans absorbed more than 90 per cent of the solar energy trapped by greenhouse gases.

“There’s a tremendous amount of energy that’s actually involved in this — it’s not surprising that it has consequences,” he said.

“Since about the mid-1990s, at least, the oceans have been warming very steadily.

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