The world’s oceans broke heat records, again, in 2021, according to new research from a team of 23 international scientists analyzing thousands of ocean temperature readings. The “ocean stores more than 90% of the Earth’s net heat gain due to greenhouse gases, thus ocean warming is a fundamental indicator of climate change,” Lijing Cheng, lead author and associate professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told the Washington Post. “The record ocean warming in 2021 is strong evidence that global warming continues.”

The study, published today in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, found the Earth’s oceans have heated up eight times faster since the 1980s than they did in previous decades – a rate only possible because of humans’ extraction and combustion of fossil fuels – and a trend scientists expect to continue. To put the 14 zettajoules of heat energy absorbed by the oceans into context, study co-author John Abraham, a professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, wrote in a Guardian op-ed, “Oceans have absorbed heat equivalent to seven Hiroshima atomic bombs detonating each second, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.” (Washington Post $, The Guardian, Daily Beast, Courthouse News, RNZ; Commentary: The Guardian, John Abraham op-ed)