Scientific Insights from Climate Researcher on the Root Causes Behind Unprecedented Surge in Ocean Temperatures

Scientific Insights from Climate Researcher on the Root Causes Behind Unprecedented Surge in Ocean Temperatures

William Brangham:

I want to put up a graph that shows just how out of the ordinary ocean temperatures are becoming.

This shows the averaged daily surface temperatures of the world’s oceans. Those very thin gray lines each represent one year, going back to 1979. Now, here’s last year’s readings in orange; 2023 started out at the upper end of normal, but soon became a record-breakingly hot year. And here in red is just the beginning of this year. The oceans are already in uncharted territory.

So, what is going on here? John Abraham is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of St. Thomas and is part of an international consortium of researchers who monitor ocean temperatures.

John Abraham, thank you so much for being here.

Before we get into the why, I wonder if you — are you in this camp that is genuinely alarmed at what’s going on?

John Abraham, Professor and Program Director, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of St. Thomas: Well, that’s a really good question.

So, behind the scenes, there are two groups of scientists. One group thinks that what we’re seeing can be explained by long-term global warming and what’s called an El Nino. And then there’s another group who think there might be another ingredient involved. There might be something that we haven’t detected yet.

And I hate to say it. I’m sort of in the middle. I — the warming that we are seeing this past year is a little out of the ordinary of what we would expect with global warming and El Nino together. Maybe something else is happening, but we don’t know. And this is what makes scientists excited. And this is what makes science great.

We like to uncover these question marks. But there is a question mark. And I — to be honest, I’m on the fence.

Source Reference

Latest stories