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On Thursday, a group of climate scientists working for the U.S. government gave notice that warming temperatures in the oceans are irreversible, regardless of any drastic actions that might be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The American Meteorological Society’s climate report, which includes four independent data sets, found 2014 to be the hottest year on record, with 90 percent of the heat related to greenhouse gas emissions having been absorbed into the ocean.

In Europe alone, over 20 countries set new heat records. Africa, Asia and Australia registered near-record heat, and California’s water supply hangs in the balance.

The Guardian investigated further:

“I think of it more like a fly wheel or a freight train. It takes a big push to get it going but it is moving now and will continue to move long after we continue to pushing it,” Greg Johnson, an oceanographer at Noaa’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, told a conference call with reporters.

“Even if we were to freeze greenhouse gases at current levels, the sea would actually continue to warm for centuries and millennia, and as they continue to warm and expand the sea levels will continue to rise,” Johnson said.

On the west coast of the US, freakishly warm temperatures in the Pacific – 4 or 5F above normal – were already producing warmer winters, as well as worsening drought conditions by melting the snowpack, he said.

The extra heat in the oceans was also contributing to more intense storms, Tom Karl, director of Noaa’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said.

— Posted by Donald Kaufman.

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