International
Bleached coral in Guam. The heating of oceans is causing tremendous problems for sea life. Photograph: David Burdick/AP

Our oceans broke heat records in 2018 and the consequences are catastrophic

Rising temperatures can be charted back to the late 1950s, and the last five years were the five hottest on record

Last year was the hottest ever measured, continuing an upward trend that is a direct result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

The key to the measurements is the oceans. Oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat that results from greenhouse gases, so if you want to measure global warming you really have to measure ocean warming.

There are other ways to measure climate change, but none are as convincing as the oceans. Air temperatures are most commonly reported in the media as evidence of global warming, but the problem with these is they are very erratic. While there is certainly a long-term trend of higher air temperatures, any given year may be warmer or colder than the last.

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