By: Susan Kraemer
In a complete reversal of the usual pattern, where water temperatures are generally cooler than land temperatures, for the second year running, the ocean was actually hotter than land in some regions, marking another ominous sign of the strange and unpredictable effects of continued global warming.
After last years records, Deke Arndt, head of climate monitoring at the climate data center said that the pattern is so unusual that meteorologists may want to study that pattern to see what’s behind it.
Sea temperatures are much harder to change than air temperatures, as anyone trying to warm a swimming pool can attest. It takes five times the heat energy to warm water than air.
Despite the difficulty of raising water temperatures, in Indonesia this May for example, ocean water measuring 93 degrees was extraordinarily anomalous: measuring 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.
Overall however, for the first six months, the degree of anomaly (water much different than usual) on the hotter side was much greater in the Northern hemisphere where water temperatures remained as high as 3°C degrees hotter than the baseline. (NOAA charts are in °C, because that’s what climate scientists and all those other nations measure temperatures in – no doubt to make sure that Americans remain uninformed – but you can multiply °C by 1.8 to translate them into our familiar °F temperatures).
These hot waters are not confined to seas. Lake Superior was 8 degrees above normal this year. The Tennessee river got so hot that a nuclear plant had to shut-down when the river measured 90 degrees, because the its permit forbids the plant from heating the river that much – even though, in this case, it was not the nuclear plant, but global warming, that caused the extraordinary temperature in the river.