According to a group of climate researchers, the increase in heat in Earth's oceans has been past the "tipping point" for 8 years already.
Their study published in PLOS Climate magazine it is new, overwhelming evidence that underlines our path to climate catastrophe. Or rather: it emphasizes that we are already in it, we can no longer think of avoiding it.
"These results show that climate change is not something uncertain that could happen in the distant future, it is a historical fact: it has already happened," he says. Kyle Van Houtan, researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and co-author of the study.
Extreme climate change is already here, the tipping point has been passed in the ocean, and the ocean underpins all life on Earth
Dr Van Houtan and his colleagues looked at temperature readings from 1920 to 2019. Temperatures had broken the record as early as 2014, in what the researchers call "the tipping point," according to their data.
"For all oceans, 2014 was the first year to cross the 50% threshold of extreme heat, and the South Atlantic (1998) and India (2007) basins that crossed this barrier even earlier", the researchers write in the paper.
1998 was 24 years ago. Impressive.
The first living things to really feel the pressure were species such as lobsters and scallops in areas off the northeastern coast of the United States and Canada. It is no coincidence that in Alaska alone 14 fisheries have already complained in recent years federal disasters.
What's after the point of no return?
This study provides a daunting picture and provides terrible forewarning of what is yet to come.
"Oceans are key to understanding climate change," he says John Abraham, professor at the University of St Thomas. "They cover about 70% of the planet's surface and absorb over 90% of the heat of global warming."
What do you do now?