There are an infinite amount of ways to describe the ocean. It’s exhilarating, magnificent, and humbling. It’s huge, enigmatic, and menacing. Its beauty has been the subject of numerous novels, films, movies, and songs. 

You may have been hearing about global warming as well as the rising sea temperature. What are its consequences? How can we deal with it? Here, you will learn about the effects caused due to the increasing temperature of the oceans. 

Main issue of rising sea temperature

Cement manufacturing produces co2 gas
Cement manufacturing produces co2 gas | Image Credit – Freepik

The sea/oceans and climate are inextricably intertwined, and climate change is wreaking havoc on vulnerable marine ecosystems. Sea levels have begun to increase as ocean waters warm, and land ice melts. Increasing water temperatures cause increased evaporation, which adds to the amount of moisture in the sky and feeds heavy rains, raising the risk of flooding.

The rise in sea temperature results in decreased dissolved oxygen while the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbed increases. Oceans grow increasingly acidic as CO2 levels rise, attacking and destroying corals and other microorganisms’ protective shells. The existence of interrelated ecosystems is dependent on ocean temperature, which has ramifications for all marine species.

Various human activities, including burning fossil fuels, cement manufacturing, and deforestation, have boosted greenhouse gas concentrations. Carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gasses have accumulated in the atmosphere, warming the Earth by 0.9°C since 1880 and anticipated to warm by another 2-4°C by 2100, owing primarily to human activities. 

Consequences 

Global warming is anticipated to continue along a high-emissions path, implying that viable mitigation solutions are lacking. Compared to low emission scenarios, the oceans will continue to warm, acidify, lose oxygen, and stratify in ways projected to have the most significant impact on marine life.

El Nino is a certain climatic condition where the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean’s surface waters warm unusually. The warm surface of the water warms the atmosphere, allowing moisture-rich air to rise and form rainstorms.

The Pacific jet stream moves south and east due to El Nino. This results in wetter conditions in the south than typical throughout the winter and warmer and drier temperatures in the North. El Nino has a significant impact on marine life along the coast of the Pacific. Drought, food shortages, flooding, precipitation, and temperature surges caused by El Nino produce a slew of health issues, including disease breakouts, hunger, heat stress, and respiratory illnesses.

Marine fisheries, seabirds, and marine mammals suffer significant dangers due to rising temperatures, including increased mortality, loss of breeding grounds, and mass migration as species look for more suitable conditions. Increasing temperatures also impact coral reefs, causing coral bleaching and increasing their mortality risk.

Effect of rising sea level 

  • Island countries like the Maldives will be swamped if sea levels rise by one meter. The current pace of global warming will even threaten cities such as New York, Bangkok, London, Mumbai, and Shanghai for submersion.
  • The rising sea level will contaminate surface and subsurface freshwater supplies, exacerbating freshwater shortages.
  • Crops and animals will perish, resulting in food scarcity.
  • Coastal cities are home to 127 million people in the United States alone. Soaring sea levels will utterly displace other cities along low-lying coasts vulnerable to rising seas and storm surges.
  • The saline water will harm coastal wetlands like the Everglades, home to an extensive and diverse ecosystem. Whole habitats, as well as the species that inhabit there, will vanish.
  • Storms that make landfall due to rising sea levels will be larger and more powerful and thus more devastating.
  • When industry comes to a halt and governments spend billions of dollars attempting to keep their citizens alive and reconstruct their infrastructure, economies will suffer.

How can we minimize the consequences?

Reducing the use of GHG

Our water resources, coastlines, forests, and economy are all threatened by greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change. If human actions such as burning fossil fuels for transportation or energy continue, it will increase the production of greenhouse gasses

The greenhouse effect is caused by these gasses trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. Take actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from your home, transportation, and activities to help mitigate the risks of climate change. As nations worldwide have signed different agreements like the Paris Agreement or Kyoto protocol, they should be strictly implemented for better results.

Protecting the marine ecosystem 

An ecosystem-based approach to controlling human activities at sea and in coastal areas is critical to avoid any detrimental consequences for ecosystems, species, and biological processes that are particularly vulnerable. 

It also assures that the marine space, a shared resource, is divided equally among the ever-growing sea activities and consumers. To prevent the ecosystem in the oceans from deteriorating, the volatile environment should be identified and protected. 

Scientific research

The monitoring of the marine ecosystem is vital. The government officials should invest more in scientific research so it would be possible to design appropriate strategies, mitigation, and implementation plans. 

Conclusion 

As a result of this rise, ocean temperatures have risen as well, particularly at the ocean’s surface. Warmer waters may also result in more violent storms and rising sea levels, both of which can significantly impact marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Global warming will invariably affect us because of our absolute reliance on the ocean. First, when sea levels rise, and coastal habitats disappear due to global warming, the globe becomes less habitable for humans. 

Second, as the water warms, fish become smaller, fish stocks shrink, and fishing locations shift, posing a threat to food security. Climate change is a severe and intricate subject that is already hurting humans and marine life.

(Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Aaditya Dawadi, an excellent environmental program manager, is a graduate of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, majoring in Physical Geography. After earning his Master’s degree, he entered the environment and wildlife protection field. In addition to his primary job function, he likes to engage in photography, reading books and traveling.