Oceans Will Collapse If Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Not Reduced
It's been confirmed: Even if we were to reduce our global emission of
greenhouse gases, there will still be a fundamental change in our
Since pre-industrial times, the carbon dioxide concentration in the
earth's atmosphere has increased from 278 to 400 ppm (parts per
million). That's an increase of 40 percent in such a short time span!
As a result, ocean temperatures up to depths of 700 metres have risen.
The marine animals within the 400 kilometres depth have migrated
towards to the poles within a decade, where the waters are cooler.
Calcareous remnants of corals and seashells have deteriorated at a
faster rate due to the increased acidification, while the ice in
Greenland and West Antarctica continues to melt, contributing to rising
"If we manage to limit the rise in air temperature in 2100 to less than
2 degrees Celsius, the risk increases especially for tropical corals
and shells in the low to mid-latitudes to a critical level. Other risks
remain moderate in this case," said the study's lead author Jean-Pierre
In short, the changing biological, physical and chemical processes in
the marine environment have caused far-reaching consequences for marine
life, and for us.
These were some revelations described in a new study published in the
journal Science on 2 July 2015. The research team had assessed the
latest findings on the impact of climate change on the seas and then
showed how the ocean's ecosystems would be altered if current levels of
carbon dioxide emissions persisted.
The role of the oceans in regulating the carbon dioxide emissions
cannot be underestimated. Describing the oceans' function as a
refrigerator and 'carbon dioxide storage', co-author Professor
Hans-Otto Pörtner said that since the 1970s, about 93 percent of the
heat had been captured by the greenhouse effect.
Maintaining the current level of yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 36
gigatonnes (as of 2013) will cause the situation in the oceans to
worsen. "If we continue with business as usual, the changes by the end
of this century, nearly all ecosystems of the oceans and affected
marine life would suffer lasting damage," said Professor Pörtner. This
in turn could have a serious impact in our relationship with the
oceans, be it in fishing, tourism or coastal protection.
Informational Source: Alfred-Wegener-Institut - www.awi.de.