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Last July was the hottest month for oceans in 130 years of record-keeping, according to the National Climatic Data Center, the U.S. government agency that keeps track of world weather records and their impact. Part of the mystery of global warming had long been where the heat was going. Scientists are now finding it has gone into Earth’s bodies of water. The warming of the world’s oceans will bring problems for all countries, such as Japan, that depend heavily on them.

Scientists from numerous research centers note that the steady rise in the temperature of the world’s oceans will not end soon. Water takes five times more energy to warm than land does, and thus water cools down much more slowly. The heat stored in the ocean means that the weather patterns in and around bodies of water are likely to change significantly, and soon. As an island nation, Japan’s closeness to the ocean means that many precautions will become necessary.

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