The ocean absorbs most of the excess heat from greenhouse gas emissions, leading to rising ocean temperatures. (Photo credit: Jiang Zhu)

In the News: John Abraham on Why Ocean Warming is Contributing to Minnesota's Abnormally Warm Winter

John Abraham, mechanical engineering professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, recently spoke with the Star Tribune about the latest global research on ocean warming and how ocean temperatures are contributing to Minnesota's warmest winter yet.

Star Tribune logo

From the story:

To understand the record-breaking warmth this winter in Minnesota, scientists look to the oceans.

For the sixth straight year, surface temperatures of the world's oceans set a new heat record in 2023, according to a study released this month from an international team of scientists. Temperatures soared past the prior record set in 2022 by nearly 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit, spurred by both climate change and a strong El Niño.

What happens in the Pacific Ocean is especially important to Minnesota, said John Abraham, a thermal-science expert at the University of St. Thomas and one of the lead scientists of the study.

"That's because our weather comes from west to east," he said. "As the atmosphere passes over the Pacific, it will pick up moisture and heat, and then it releases that moisture and heat over a place like Minnesota."