Oceans around the world are heating up at a rate equivalent to four nuclear bomb blasts every single second.
After analyzing data from the 1950s to 2019, an international team of scientists determined that the average temperature of the world’s oceans in 2019 was 0.075 degrees Celsius (0.135 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1981-2010 average.
That might not seem like a significant amount of warming, but given the massive volume of the oceans, an increase even as small as that would require an astounding influx of heat – worth 228 sextillion joules, according to the scientists’ study, which was published in Monday in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.
Unsurprisingly, this figure is difficult to understand. One of the scientists therefore developed and formulated it in simpler terms: by comparing it to the atomic bomb that the United States dropped on Hiroshima, in Japan, in 1945.
‘The Hiroshima atom-bomb exploded with an energy of about 63,000,000,000,000 Joules,’ said study author Lijing Cheng from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
‘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,’ she said.
That averages out to four Hiroshima bombs’ worth of energy entering the oceans every second for the past 25 years. But even more troubling, the rate isn’t holding steady at that alarming figure – it’s increasing.
In 2019, the situation got even worse. Last year, the heat rate was “about 5 Hiroshima heat bombs, every second, day and night, 365 days a year,” John Abraham, engineering professor specializing in thermal sciences at University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and co-author of the study, told Vice.
The readings that make up the data were taken from a network of more than 3,800 buoys distributed across the planet. “Global warming is real, and it is getting worse,” said Abraham.
“The less technical term is: It’s a s***-ton of energy,” he said – and it’s already having a huge impacting the environment.
“It makes hurricanes and typhoons more powerful, and it makes rainfall more intense,” Abraham told Vice.
“It puts our weather on steroids.”
And remember, the rate is increasing – meaning that every moment we delay taking action to slow or reverse the warming, the situation is only going to get worse.