Year 2022 – Warmest Sea Temperature Ever Measured

19 January, 2023

An international team of scientists has measured the temperature and salinity of the ocean, and the measurements show that the oceans continue to break records – year after year. And last year was by far the warmest so far. And that has consequences for us on land.

The report, published last week in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, confirms, according to the researchers, a pattern of human-caused climate change.

More extreme weather

When the surface water in the oceans gets warmer, it has a huge effect on the world’s weather. With more intense hurricanes, longer heat waves, heavier rain, drought and more frequent floods.

Among other things, the researchers write in the report that; “Measuring what’s happening in the oceans is the most accurate way to determine how out of balance our planet is.”

Saltier seas

The study also looked at the sea’s salinity, which determines things like water density and circulation in the oceans. And simplified, you can say that the oceans are becoming saltier, but areas where the salinity is not so high go in the opposite direction and become “fresher”. Which in turn changes the oceans’ ability to transport oxygen and nutrients around.

The oceans absorb most of the warming from human carbon dioxide emissions, says Michael Mann, climate scientist at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the authors of the new study.

Until we reach net zero emissions, that warming will continue, and we will continue to break records for ocean heat content, as we did last year.

Text: Lena Scherman
Photo: Simon Stanford
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