We love our oceans, or so I hope. The ocean is the heart of our great Earth. Water on this planet covers over ⅔ of the Earth’s surface. This huge body of water is our support system. It generates half the oxygen we breathe. It is also the largest ecosystem on Earth. The oceans must be protected at all costs. Without it, the world would be in a completely different place in life and evolution.
The ocean can’t die, but it can change. The marine environment has changed significantly because of climate change. Yes, climate change is real and it is happening. This biome is registering the impacts of climate change. Ocean warming is one of the biggest impacts it has. The ocean absorbs heat as a result of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The ocean has absorbed more than 93% of excess heat since the 1970’s. Ocean warming causes deoxygenation (a reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the ocean). It also causes an increased rise in sea level. This expands the sea and continental ice melting.
Ocean warming is extremely harsh on the oceans many ecosystems. The global temperatures current increase is 0.7 degrees Celsius. The Intergovernmental Panel has a prediction that it will rise between 1.4 degrees Celsius and 5.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average global sea temperature in the upper ocean has increased by 0.13 degrees Celsius per decade over the past 100 years. Along with this, the deep ocean is absorbing ⅓ of the excess heat 700 m below the ocean’s surface. Because of this, climate change will have a huge affect on the entirety of the ocean.
A key impact of climate change and ocean warming is coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is the most visual effect of climate change. It is caused by high water temperatures that kill the ocean’s coral. In the most recent years, coral mortality had reached up to 70% in multiple regions.
When people ask questions about this, one they all have in common is – why is coral bleaching such a big deal? Some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on this planet is supported by coral reefs. Over thousands of marine animals depend on this oceanic plant. Animals such as fish, crabs, ea turtles, sea birds, starfish, etc. Coral reefs don’t just feed marine wildlife, they also provide much more. They provide spawning grounds, shelter, and protection from predators. These reefs support organisms all the way at the base of the food chain. With reef ecosystems collapsing, all of these species face extinction.
That is just one of the many impacts global warming has on the ocean. Imagine what else it is doing. Actions can be/are being taken to protect these coral reefs and the ocean all together. There are small daily actions to take that will definitely help. Smart things you can do are invest in renewable energy and energy efficient appliances, reduce water waste, reduce food waste, invest in better light bulbs, and pull the plugs in help reduce unnecessary energy use. The biggest action you can take to help stop global warming is to speak up. Take part in protests, sign a petition, donate to causes that are trying to replant coral reefs and plans for clean power. Everyone should help make this change.