The quantity of heat the oceans have absorbed in the last decade is difficult to describe, if not imagine. The ocean’s heat content isÂ measuredÂ in the most standard unit of energy, joules (using a 100-watt lightbulb for three hours eats upÂ 1,080,000 joules). Between 2010 and 2019, the seas absorbed roughly 110,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules of energy.
To help grasp this outrageous number, we’ll need something big, so I’ve converted the ocean’s heat content into nuclear bomb explosions. Specifically, explosions of the mostÂ powerful nuclear bomb ever detonated, the Tsar Bomba. In a grandiose test, the Soviets dropped this 59,525 pound, blimp-shaped behemoth in October 1961, which released some 50 megatons of energy (that’s the energy produced by explodingÂ 50 million tonsÂ of dynamite).
The conclusion:Â The ocean has absorbed (roughly) the equivalent amount of energy released when detonating a Tsar Bomba once every 10 minutes for 10 years.Â
(For reference, the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 had the explosive force ofÂ 15,000 tons of TNTÂ â€” so the Tsar Bomba detonation was over 3,000 times more powerful.)