Princeton and Scripps researchers report that the world’s oceans absorbed more than 13 zettajoules — which is a joule, the standard unit of energy, followed by 21 zeroes — of heat energy each year between 1991 and 2016. That’s 150 times more heat energy each year than the energy humans produce as electricity annually. The estimate is 60 percent higher than that used in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report.
For each year during the past quarter century, the world’s oceans have absorbed an amount of heat energy that is 150 times the energy humans produce as electricity annually, according to a study led by researchers at Princeton and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego. The strong ocean warming the researchers found suggests that Earth is more sensitive to fossil-fuel emissions than previously thought.