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Why warm oceans will mean wild weather

Australian Fires
Australian Fires

I know you’ve been hearing about warmer temperatures every time we turn around as records seem to fall each month and then each year. Those temps and records are usually referring to the air temperatures, but don’t for a minute think ocean temps aren’t just as, if not more, important! A simple graph of January-March global ocean temperatures illustrates the point that they continue to increase:

January-March ocean temps
January-March ocean temps

Oceans actually store most of our heat and this year is no exception:

Current Sea Surface Temperatures
Current Sea Surface Temperatures

The two most obvious concerns are the melting arctic ice sheets and the fact that warm water fuels tropical storms and hurricanes. The warmer the water, the more likely such storms will develop and the more likely they will become major hurricanes. The ocean water needs to not only be warm at the surface but warm well-below the surface. Then as a hurricane upwells the “cooler” water below, that water is still warm enough to fuel the storm.

An additional threat is wildfires, especially in the Amazon and Australia. Simply put, warmer water causes warm, rising air which creates showers over the water and NOT over the land. The ocean literally sucks the moisture from the land. So the land becomes parched and the scene for raging wildfires is then set.

A full article on our warm oceans and the rising threat of extreme weather is right here.

Have a safe week and stay weather aware for Wednesday as another front drops in with the likelihood of spring storms.

Frank

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