The world’s oceans reached their warmest temperature on record in 2022, new research suggests. According to the study in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, temperatures have been rising since the late 1950s – and started to accelerate in the 1990s.
The past three years have all been the hottest on record.
Ocean temperatures are regarded as one of the most accurate gauges of global warming, because they’re less affected by seasonal changes and day-to-day weather cycles than air temperatures – and because the oceans absorb so much excess heat.
“To measure global warming, you want to measure where the warming goes, and over 90% goes into the oceans,” said study co-author Prof John Abraham, of the University of St Thomas in Minnesota.
As well as being a driver of rising sea levels, warming oceans lead to more intense storms, hurricanes and rainfall.