A new ocean study is bad news for anyone living on planet Earth, the Guardian reports. Researchers found that world oceans reached their warmest level in 2019, amid 5 years that were the warmest 5 for oceans on record and 10 years that were warmest 10. "We found that 2019 was not only the warmest year on record, it displayed the largest single-year increase of the entire decade, a sobering reminder that human-caused heating of our planet continues unabated," says co-author and Penn State professor Michael Mann. More specifically, the study says 2019 average ocean temperatures were 0.135 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 1981-2019 average, which is bigger than it sounds, per NBC News.
"The amount of heat we have put in the world's oceans in the past 25 years equals to 3.6 billion Hiroshima atom bomb explosions," says lead author Lijing Cheng. Scientists note that oceans are a strong measure of overall climate change because they take in over 90% of the heat caused by greenhouse gases. Higher ocean temperatures also melt ice, which makes sea levels rise, and endanger marine life. The study drew on all known sources of ocean temperature data, especially the 3,800 Argo floats that measure depth and temperature around the world, per the New York Times. "The data we have is irrefutable, but we still have hope because humans can still take action," says another study author. "We just haven't taken meaningful action yet." (Read more climate change stories.)