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You won't hear any explosions or see any mushroom clouds, but the results are the same: The world's oceans are warming at a rate equivalent to being barraged with five Hiroshima-type atomic bomb detonations every second.
That fact comes courtesy of a team of international scientists who examined approximately 70 years of water temperatures from the surface of the seas to a depth of 6,560 feet (2,000 m).
Not only have temperatures over the past decade been the warmest ever recorded, but the increases are accelerating more rapidly than ever before. The warming trend between 1987 and 2019 was 450% greater than the trend between 1955 and 1986.
Kevin Trenberth of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research said there's only one explanation for the ever-increasing temperatures: people. "The upward trend is relentless, and so we can say with confidence that most of the warming is man-made climate change," he said.
While continuing at this alarming rate poses devastating consequences for all life on Earth, the scientists said the future is still open to change. "If we can reduce emissions, we can reduce the warming level, and then reduce the associated risks and losses," said Lijing Cheng, the lead author of the research published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.
We're in hot water:
- Americans make up 4 percent of the global population but produce 25 percent of the carbon dioxide that is accelerating global warming.
- Global sea levels have climbed by approximately 8 inches (20.3 cm) since 1870.
- The Southern Ocean has been hardest hit by warming, absorbing about 43 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions and three-quarters of the heat.