A red line on the chart has caught the attention of many on social media in recent days.
The line, which shows sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic Ocean, is pointing straight.
It shows that the ocean area was about 1.09°C above average – on a scale dating back to 1982, the first year with comparable data.
– I’ve been working on this for a long time, but I thought: “Oh God, look at this. What’s happening now?”
The data is correct and based on satellite measurements, which have great accuracy, says Tore Vurevik, professor of climate dynamics at the University of Bergen.
And the Atlantic Basin suffers from abnormal heat, and this confirms and frightens, he says.
– Given that we have never seen such large deviations in temperature and sea ice from normal, it is, of course, very abnormal. And although we can expect new records this year, there are many who were surprised and concerned about the scale of these new records, says Vorevik.
– Could this happen without man-made climate change?
– No, such large deviations from normal would not have been possible without man-made climatic changes, he says.
early access El Nino The red line pointing straight up is only partly to blame.
Professor Tore Vorivik lists three reasons:
Man-made climate change
Our emissions of greenhouse gases lead to an increasingly strong greenhouse effect, and this increases the average global temperature by approx. 0.2°C per decade.
El Niño condition
In the past three years, global warming has “slowed down” due to the fact that it was abnormally cold in the Pacific Ocean. This is invited to La Niña. Already this fall, climate models have shown that a cold La Niña is now being replaced by an abnormally warm period in the Pacific Ocean, the so-called El Niño condition, and this helps to “accelerate” man-made climate changes.
abnormal ocean currents
Random variations in the weather, that is, when there is high pressure and low pressure, where there are northerly winds and where there are southerly winds, where there are ocean currents that are stronger or weaker than normal, will also affect sea surface temperatures. If you look closely at the numbers, you will see that there are many variations over the days, weeks, and months. There is reason to believe that this also contributed to the significant results we have seen in recent weeks.
The chart, which Jacobsen shared on Twitter, shows numbers for deviations from normal. That is, it shows how much the ocean will warm in 2023 compared to normal year.
But also in the graph below, which shows day-by-day temperatures, 2023 is a step above all other years measured.
Another possible factor could be the recent eruption of an undersea volcano in Tonga, says Daniel Swain, a climatologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.
– We now have a natural volcanic eruption that is likely to warm the Earth in the short term. It comes on top of the human-caused warming we’re already seeing. Daniel Swain thinks this may be part of the reason for the current increase in some global ocean and atmospheric temperatures.
– What harm can high temperatures do to the sea?
Rising sea temperatures can cause severe damage to marine life. Fish species are disappearing, tropical coral reefs are depleting, and large areas could suffer from a lack of oxygen, says Furivek.
– What does this mean for sea ice?
Warmer seas contribute to faster melting of sea ice. This has an amplification effect, as less ice means less light is reflected from the sun (the ocean is much darker than the ice), and this provides additional warming.
– Warmer water also contributes to glaciers that reach the sea, for example in Greenland and Antarctica, melt faster and this helps reinforce the problem of global sea level rise, says Vorivik.
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