Despite record-high sea temperatures, the Great Barrier Reef showed widespread recovery
Oceans absorb 93% of excess heat from climate change. Global ocean heat content increased by 5.1% compared to the previous year, in line with a steady increase in ocean heat over the last three decades.
The global mean sea level rose by 2.8 mm in 2022. Sea level has increased by 80 mm since 2000 and 98 mm since 1993.
Sea level around Australia has been rising faster than the global average. The fastest rate of rise was in the Tasman Sea, which has risen by more than 150 mm since 1992.
Australian ocean surface temperature was the highest on record in the open ocean east of Australia, along the northern coast of Queensland and the west coast of Tasmania.
Mean sea surface temperature was also the highest on record, 0.80 °C above 1961–1990 average and 0.37 °C above the 2000–2021 average. The increase in temperature is in line with clearly rising ocean temperatures since around 1970.
In early 2022, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) experienced the fourth mass coral bleaching event in seven years. Nonetheless, the low levels of acute and accumulated stress in the preceding few years contributed to low coral mortality and allowed coral cover to continue to increase in the Northern and Central GBR. Crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks generally decreased, although some remained in the Southern GBR.