Researchers released a report this week that concluded that the ocean temperature hit a new record last year. This is a problem for all of us. The world’s oceans store 90 percent of the heat generated from global warming.
The 2019 record isn’t a one-off either. It’s part of a disturbing trend. The researchers reported that the oceans were the warmest ever over the last 10 years.
Hotter oceans contribute to the warming of the atmosphere and land on a global scale. As a result, we will continue to see more extreme weather, including wildfires, droughts and stronger tropical storms and hurricanes. Sea life is also being harmed.
Hotter oceans are also intensifying and accelerating the two major drivers of sea level rise flooding. Land-based ice sheets will continue to melt faster, sending more runoff into the oceans. And the oceans themselves will continue to expand as they heat up.
Scientists have been calling for anywhere from three-to-six feet of sea level rise by 2100. A foot or two of that total could be on our doorsteps by 2050.
Coastal communities are already struggling to protect lives and real estate with the foot or so of sea level rise that has accumulated since 1900. Many already need hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars to defend roads and other critical infrastructure. With funding in short supply, many communities are putting off these critical projects, which puts lives and property at risk.
When you combine the ocean heating analysis, published in the journal Advances In Atmospheric Sciences, with reports that have found accelerating atmospheric temperatures — 2019 was the second hottest on record for the globe — it’s clear that buyers, sellers, owners, and real estate agents need to start taking sea level rise flooding seriously when they’re dealing with coastal real estate.