Oceans cover 70% of our Earth and help control our weather. They soak up a lot of the extra heat from climate change. But recent numbers show they’re getting hotter than ever before. On July 31, 2023, the average sea surface temperature hit a record 69.73°F. CBS News says the North Atlantic is hotter than ever and it’s likely to stay that way.
Why Oceans Matter in Climate Talk
Water can hold a lot of heat. That’s why even a tiny temperature rise in the ocean means it’s taken in a lot of warmth. Our oceans help slow down global warming by taking in this extra heat. But, more greenhouse gases from things like cars and factories mean our oceans keep getting warmer.
Breaking Records and Why It’s a Big Deal
The temperature in July 2023 broke the old record from March 2016. This isn’t just a one-time thing. Events like El Niño and more greenhouse gases are making our oceans hotter.
Hot Oceans Stir Up Big Storms
Warm oceans can make storms, like hurricanes, even stronger. These storms get their power from the warm water. Plus, the path and strength of hurricanes can change because of these hotter waters.
Coral Reefs in Trouble
Fish are also feeling the change. They move to cooler places when the water gets too warm. This can mess up the balance in the ocean. And if the water gets super hot suddenly, many fish can die because they can’t get enough oxygen.
Coral reefs, the colorful underwater forests, are in danger. Warm water can make them lose their color and die. This is bad news for many sea animals that call these reefs home.
Algae Blooms: A Growing Concern
Warm water can also lead to more algae growth. This can make the water dirty and harm sea life. Some of these algae can even be poisonous to people and animals that eat seafood.
The Rising Sea Levels
One big worry is that warm water takes up more space. This, along with melting ice from places like Antarctica, means sea levels are going up. This can be a problem for cities and towns near the coast.
What It Means for Our Wallets and Next Steps
Hotter oceans can hurt businesses, especially fishing and beach tourism. To fix this, we need to cut down on greenhouse gases. This means using fewer fossil fuels and finding cleaner ways to power our world.
To sum it up, our oceans are telling us we need to make changes. By working together, we can make sure our planet stays healthy.