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'Scary': Warming of Oceans Is Equivalent to 1.5 Atomic Bombs Every Second Over Past 150 Years


'Scary': Warming of Oceans Is Equivalent to 1.5 Atomic Bombs Every Second Over Past 150 Years

Julia Conley, staff writer

Carbon emissions are affecting life in all of Earth's ecosystems—contributing to drought, flooding, and the melting of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.


Actual headline:

Translated headline:

‘We’re Fucked’: Warming of Oceans Is Equivalent to 1.5 Atomic Bombs Every Second Over Past 150 Years




To see how absolutely fucked we are, read this article then read the comments - which are certainly representative of typical all-American, blue-collar rust-belt Yinzers:


BTW wit the temperature hitting 60F, we just had a severe thunderstorm - multiple lighting ground strikes and everything. I’ve never seen anything like it in January.


After the eternal discussions on the economy, it all comes back to the ecology, where it should have been in the first place.

In a healthy environment, there are no poor people.


Do folks watching the ocean swallow their homes find it “worrisome” … ?


We have entered nonlinear, exponential abrupt climate change. The age of stable climate systems is over, sadly. I agree in that we are fucked. Human extinction by mid-century.


Folks : Our generation has been instrumental in allowing this to happen through the support of the two most corrupt corporate political parties.

And, I bet if you asked the 95% who voted for these same two parties in the last two elections if they feel responsible, even in the slightest way, they’d deny any responsibility.

To a man.

And a woman.



While I agree that the added energy is a serious issue, I must say, I despise these click-baity, hyperbolic comparisons that just sound ridiculous to me. Did some math… The Hiroshima bomb (which was the comparison used) released 62 trillion Joules of energy, the sun hits the earth with 119 quadrillion Joules of energy per second, that means the additional energy being absorbed by the ocean is .075% of the total energy that’s been hitting our entire planet. Being that our earth is 71% covered in oceans that number is extremely paltry. Again… not saying it isn’t a big deal over time, it just makes the comparison silly, they may have well just said, “the amount of warming in the oceans is equivalent to the energy of 4.5 quintillion shark attacks per second!”


I think it’s a little more complicated than that. In order for the temperature of the earth to remain relatively constant, it must also radiate away all the heat it gains from solar radiation. The effect being measure by the subject of this article reflects the net gain in heat over time due to a decrease in the heat being radiated away. That change is caused by the greenhouse effect. Compared to zero (the stable net change in energy associated with no increase in overall temperature), the 1.5 atomic bombs every second is a sizable number.


I’m not disagreeing with that, I’m just saying the comparison of “1.5 atomic bombs per second” doesn’t mean anything without context. They are deliberately trying to make it sound more important by use of hyperbole and emotional entanglement with the connotation rather than supplying useful real information. These are tactics that religious zealots use to energize and sway the weak minded, and I see them as such. Even the use in comparison of an extremely weak atomic bomb to make their case, makes my point.


They may also be the tactics of people who understand how dire our circumstance is and are desperate to see solutions pursued before its too late. I don’t fault them for that, because these are desperate times relative to the climate problem.

I’m not going to worry over whether they provided an insufficient context because we need action. If somebody tells me there is a fire in the building, I’m not going to demand an explanation of the size of the fire or its other contextual characteristics. I’m going to pull the fire alarm and get the hell out and thank them for the warning.