The temperature of the world’s ocean surface has hit an all-time high since satellite records began, leading to marine heatwaves around the globe, according to US government data.
Climate scientists said preliminary data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) showed the average temperature at the ocean’s surface has been at 21.1C since the start of April – beating the previous high of 21C set in 2016.
“The current trajectory looks like it’s headed off the charts, smashing previous records,” said Prof Matthew England, a climate scientist at the University of New South Wales.
Three years of La Niña conditions across the vast tropical Pacific have helped suppress temperatures and dampened the effect of rising greenhouse gas emissions.
But scientists said heat was now rising to the ocean surface, pointing to a potential El Niño pattern in the tropical Pacific later this year that can increase the risk of extreme weather conditions and further challenge global heat records. [Continue reading…]