PARIS : ' Carbon emissions : EI Nino pushes oceans to record temperatures. '

Months of record breaking temperatures and the EI Nino weather phenomenon pushed the heating up of the world's oceans to a new peak in February, scientists said.

Oceans cover 70 percent of the planet and have kept the Earth's surface livable by absorbing 90 percent of the excess heat produced by carbon pollution from human activity since the dawn of the industrial age.

The world's oceans have been getting progressively hotter for around a decade, and last year scientists have said the temperature were ''off the charts'', as the effects of human-caused climate change combined with the short term warming impacts of the naturally occurring EI Nino.

That trend has continued into 2024, with February seeing average sea surface temperatures of 21.06 degree Celsius, the highest for any month on record, according to Copernicus Climate Change Service [C3S] data released last Thursday.

Overall across the planet last month was the hottest February on record globally, the ninth straight month of historic highs, C3S said. 

Copernicus' data from across the planet goes back to the 1940s, but Carlo Buontempo, director of C3S, said that taking into account what scientists known about historical temperatures '' our civilization never had to cope with this climate ''.

Buontempo said heat levels in the upper oceans were '' remarkable ''.

That's because they show just much of the extra energy and carbon pumped into the climate system by human activities the oceans have absorbed.

Many climate-related records were broken in the last year by enormous margins, scientists have said, particularly temperatures in the oceans.

Sea surface temperature influences weather and climate patterns.

Hotter oceans means more moisture in the atmosphere, leading to increasingly erratic weather, like fierce winds and powerful rain.

Warmer waters also impact marine life, from coral reefs to migratory species like humpback whales.  [AFP]


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