You Asked, We Answered: How Much Has the Ocean Warmed?

The effects of climate change have an impact on the temperature of both the air and the ocean. 

Published March 07, 2018

In the last 20 years, the amount of heat uptake in the ocean has doubled compared to the heat uptake in the ocean between 1865 and 1997. This means that the ocean has warmed the same amount in the last 20 years as it did in the previous 132 years.


The effects of climate change impact more than just air temperature. The ocean absorbs over 90 percent of the Earth’s excess heat that comes from climate change. In addition to causing sea level rise, this significant amount of ocean warming is causing some fish populations to migrate toward the North and South poles, which is likely to impact the health of the ocean and fishing communities across the globe. As the temperature of the ocean’s surface increases, the pH of the water is slowly acidifying, causing widespread damage to coral reefs. 

Climate change and the rapid warming of the ocean is a result of excess carbon emissions. Together, we can all do our part to help prevent ocean warming! Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Tell your representatives you want better climate policies. 
  • Choose public transportation when you can and support local efforts to build more infrastructure that supports it! 
  • Eat seasonally and locally whenever possible. The upcoming spring and summer months are a great time to explore your nearby farmers market! 

To learn more about ocean warming, visit!


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