Currently — May 9, 2023: Trustworthy meteorologists and record warm oceans

The weather, currently.

When it comes to the trust Americans have in their news sources, nothing beats meteorologists.

On Monday, YouGov released its annual Trust in Media report, and the Weather Channel took top honors. It wasn't even close.

This is hugely encouraging when it comes climate action. Hardly anyone has done as much work on connecting our day-to-day lived realities with the climate emergency as the Weather Channel. The Weather Channel's owner, Byron Allen, has explicitly said he has given the on-camera meteorologists there a directive to link weather with climate change as often as is appropriate. "We have to inform folks so we can help save their lives," he said shortly after acquiring the network in 2018.

This is also encouraging news for Currently — where we aim to take what the Weather Channel is doing one step even further by connecting folks directly with how climate is affecting them each and every day. Climate change is here. It's being manifested daily in our weather. And it's up to each of us to join together and imagine a better world — that works for everyone.

—Eric Holthaus

What you need to know, currently.

Oceans worldwide have reached their warmest levels in modern history, disrupting both marine and human life.

Average sea temperatures are about 1.5 degrees F warmer than they were in 1986.

“The oceans are enormous, so they don’t warm very quickly ordinarily,” Robert Rohde, a physicist at Berkeley Earth told Grist. “This is an unusually abrupt rise to a level that’s above what it’s been at any previous year.”

This record warm streak is likely due to climate change and an emerging El Niño, the warm phase of a cyclical climate pattern that occurs when the tropical Pacific Ocean warms up. It’s associated with weak monsoons and less rainfall in various regions.

“It appears at the moment that we are seeing the early stages of an El Niño emerging,” Rohde said. “And the breadth of area that is affected by that warmth really points to climate change being a factor.”

Warming oceans is concerning because seawater expands at higher temperatures, causing sea level rise. Marine life also suffers, as many species can’t adapt. Corals, for example, suffer bleaching. And warmer water at the poles leads to faster melting of the ice caps.

“Climate scientists were shocked by the extreme weather events in 2021,” Mark Maslin, a professor of Earth system science at University College London, told the Guardian.

He continued: “Many hoped this was just an extreme year. But they continued into 2022 and now they are occurring in 2023. It seems we have moved to a warmer climate system with frequent extreme climate events and record-breaking temperatures that are the new normal. It is difficult to see how anyone can deny climate change is happening and having devastating effects around the world.”

—Aarohi Sheth

What you can do, currently.

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Paid members will have a truly premium weather experience. Here's some of what we have planned:

  • Text directly with Eric, our founder, who will personally answer your weather questions and give you a customized forecast on demand.
  • Our first weather app, which will put your daily weather in the context of climate change, no matter where you are, anywhere in the world.
  • Reader-ownership — an experiment in direct democracy so that Currently can remain accountable to our most important stakeholders, you, the readers.

We have SO MANY more exciting features planned, but we can't do this without your direct support. Your paid membership makes Currently possible.