The world’s ocean temperature in June rose to the warmest since 1880, breaking the previous record set in 2005, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
The ocean surface temperature was 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius), 1 degree Fahrenheit above the average for June since record keeping began, NOAA said today in a statement. The combined land and ocean surface temperature for June was 61 degrees, the second warmest after 2005.
Climate change blamed on greenhouse-gas emissions is contributing to warmer ocean and land temperatures and more severe storms, the United Nations said last year in a report. The impact of ocean warming on storm activity this year may be offset by El Nino conditions, said Tom Kines, a meteorologist with the private forecaster AccuWeather.com in State College, Pennsylvania.
“Sea surface temperatures contribute to hurricanes,” Kines said in an interview. “They’re not the sole factor in whether they form or not.” The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. In the last four years, named storms had formed by May or June.
The El Nino phenomenon, a warming of the eastern Pacific that occurs every two to five years, have returned, NOAA said. It can lead to lead to more wintry storms in California and fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic.
Colorado State University forecasters predicted last month that the current Atlantic season would be “slightly below average,” with 11 named storms, five of them hurricanes. NOAA forecast nine to 14 storms, fewer than last year’s above-average total of 16.
Ocean temperature in each hemisphere was the warmest on record for June, NOAA said. Across the U.S., temperatures in June were near the long-term average.
Last month, 10 universities said in a report that polar ice caps are melting faster and oceans are rising more than the United Nations projected just two years ago.
In December, negotiators from more than 180 nations will meet in Copenhagen to broker a new treaty to fight global warming by limiting the release of gases in the air from burning fossil fuels and clearing forests.
Arctic sea ice covered an average of 4.4 million square miles (11.5 million square kilometers) in June, 5.6 percent below the 1979-2000 average, NOAA said.To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Efstathiou Jr. in New York email@example.com.