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The Amount of Man-Made Heat Energy in Oceans Has Doubled Since 1997

A new study shows that the amount of man-made energy absorbed into the oceans has doubled since 1997. It is common knowledge among researchers that 90 percent of heat energy from global warming goes into oceans instead of the ground. But this study used ocean-observing data (that goes all the way back to a British research ship in the 1870s) and high-tech modern underwater monitors to track exactly how much man-made energy has been put into our oceans in the past 150 years. According to the study, from 1865 to 1997, the oceans absorbed 150 zettajoules of energy. But just since 1997, the oceans have already absorbed another 150. In layman’s terms, that amount of heat energy is roughly equal to the amount that would be released if a Hiroshima-scale atomic bomb exploded every second for 75 years. So you shouldn’t blame your nearby friend for those pockets of heat you float into while you’re splashing around in the ocean, though that would probably be better environmentally speaking. Oregon State University marine sciences professor Jane Lubchenco, the former chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said, “These finding have potentially serious consequences for life in the oceans as well as for patterns of ocean circulation, storm tracks and storm intensity.”

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