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01/24/2023

275th Interview: John Abraham Discusses the Continued Rapid Increase in Ocean Heat Content (January 23rd)

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(Listeners may recall Professor Abraham discussed 2021 ocean warming last year on January 18.)

As a possible reminder, oceans, that cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, absorb 93% of the heat energy trapped by greenhouse gases, termed ocean heat content (OHC).   Increased OHC in 2022 is not surprisingly when you consider global CO2 emissions increased by over two billion tons or rose by 6% to a total of 36.3 billion tons in 2021,  their highest ever level.  In 2022 the planet’s seas absorbed about 11 Zetta joules of heat—equivalent to the energy of seven nuclear bombs exploding every single second of the year or 19 times as much as the total energy produced by all human activities in 2020.  The consequences of warming ocean water to human health and survival are innumerable and incalculable.   For example, warning ocean water cause huge disruptions to marine life from phytoplankton and zooplankton that substantially threatens the availability of food we consume and of oxygen we breathe. 

This 34 minute interview begins with an overview of Prof Abraham's and his colleagues' publication in Advances In Atmospheric Sciences, discusses why ocean warming will continue or ocean heat content will continue to increase long after we stop emitting GHG gasses, the ability of oceans to continue to absorb GHG gasses and heat, uneven ocean warming, the continued amplification of the global hydrological cycle, explains El Niño and La Niña and what it means that 2023 is anticipated to be an El Niño year, increasing ocean acidity and what it means, the lack of interest or recognition of OHC in healthcare policy conversations but why they matter to human health.          

John Abraham, Ph.D., is a Professor and Program Director in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.  He studies largely concerning the geophysical Abraham-John science related to the climate crisis that includes the rate at which the planet is warming, particularly oceans.  His team’s warming measurements provide insights on future climate crisis effects over the coming decades.  Professor Abraham also studies the impact of increasing heat on the human body - information that has important health consequences particularly for at risk and minority populations.   Professor has conducted approximately 400 scientific studies that have been published widely.  He is a frequent television and radio guest having participated in over 100 television and radio interviews.   Professor Abraham earned his BS, MS and Ph.D. in  mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota.

Professor Abraham and colleagues' January 11 article, "Another Year of Record Heat for Oceans," is at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00376-023-2385-2.   

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