Ocean warming looks huge – if you express it in exotic increments of measurement

Ocean warming looks huge – if you express it in exotic increments of measurement
Indian Ocean: view from Reunion Island. Pixabay

[Ed. – And we quote: “The SI prefix “zetta” represents a factor of 1021, or in exponential notation, 1E21. So 1 zettajoule = 1021 joules.”  Helpful.  Gimme back my joules, man.  I grok my joules.]

The paper is “Record-Setting Ocean Warmth Continued in 2019.” …

Now, that would be fairly informative … except that it’s in zettajoules. I renew my protest against the use of zettajoules for displaying or communicating this kind of ocean analysis. It’s not that they are not accurate, they are. It’s that nobody has any idea what that actually means.

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Trending: Mayors back reparations that could cost $6.2 quadrillion, or $151M per descendant

So here’s the hot news. According to these folks, over the last sixty years, the ocean has warmed a little over a tenth of one measly degree [Celsius] … now you can understand why they put it in zettajoules—it’s far more alarming that way.

Next, I’m sorry, but the idea that we can measure the temperature of the top two kilometers of the ocean with an uncertainty of ±0.003°C (three-thousandths of one degree) is simply not believable.

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