How Does Climate Change Affect Oceans?

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How Does Climate Change Affect Oceans?  Global climate and weather patterns are influenced by our oceans, which span around 70% of the Earth’s surface and have a reciprocal interaction with them. Oceans have a strong influence on regional and weather conditions around the world, but global climate change has the potential to have a significant impact on the oceans as well. This cycle, despite the fact that it appears to be straightforward, is actually far more complicated than one may expect. So, what is the impact of climate change on the ocean?










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– What Is the Impact of Climate Change on the Ocean?

Oceans, in general, are a dynamic force in the natural world. This vast carbon sink plays a critical and regulatory function in the Earth’s climate, as well as in the global carbon cycle. According to scientific research, the seas absorb the vast majority of solar energy reaching the Earth, and warming of the waters occurs at a slower rate than warming of the atmosphere, resulting in moderate coastal weather with few hot and cold extremes. However, in recent years, there has been a marked improvement in the situation.






In addition, the oceans absorb over 90 percent of the additional energy resulting from greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in ocean warming at depths of more than 1,000 metres. Increased ocean warming and stratification (where seawater naturally creates stratified layers with lighter waters near the surface and denser waters at greater depth) have resulted as a result, as has unpredictability in ocean regimes and the change of ocean habitats and ecologies. Coral bleaching and ocean warming events such as marine heat waves are expected to increase in response to climate change and the concurrent greenhouse warming, according to a 2019 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This will put more strain on the global oceans as a result of climate change and concurrent greenhouse warming.








Furthermore, global warming has resulted in the melting of glaciers and land ice, which has resulted in increasing sea levels, which has resulted in coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, and the destruction of coastal habitats and shorelines, among other consequences. In addition, the increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions has resulted in extreme El Nio episodes, which include sea surface warming, shifting ocean circulation patterns, and increased precipitation frequency and intensity. On the other hand, La Nia occurrences have also witnessed an increase in frequency over the past several years, and they tend to have complex effects on weather patterns, notably in the western Pacific Ocean. Both El Nio and La Nia events are part of the El Nio Southern Oscillation (ENSO), with the former causing substantial warming impacts in the Pacific regions while the latter causes considerable cooling or changes in the winter seasons in the Pacific regions.

Climate change-related carbon dioxide emissions have the potential to acidify the oceans, increasing the vulnerability of aquatic species and marine environments to decreases and damage. This acidification of the ocean exacerbates physiological challenges and decreases the growth and survival rates of a variety of marine animals.

So, what is the significance of this?

Environmental services provided by the world’s oceans and coastlines include marine habitat, carbon sequestration, oxygen production, food and income generation, and many others. The coastal ecosystems, which include salt marshes and mangroves, are important participants in the carbon sequestration process because they store carbon. Because of the ongoing deforestation activities taking place in many parts of the world, the degradation of these ecosystems results in the release of around 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year, accounting for nearly 20% of global carbon emissions.

Climate change-related effects such as increased ocean temperatures and acidification are already being observed in the current environment. Coral reefs are in grave danger as a result of rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, putting additional burden on food production, coastal protection, and other functions provided by coral reef ecosystems. Furthermore, it is well-known that plastic waste contributes to ocean warming and endangers the lives of marine animals. The cumulative effects of deforestation, agricultural runoff, overexploitation of marine resources, overfishing, and other factors have a negative impact on marine ecosystems all over the world, including the United States.

To summarize, greenhouse warming has more complex and potentially severe consequences for the ocean than it does for the land. While this is true, it is also crucial to emphasize that the biosphere as a whole must be protected from the effects of global warming in order to be sustainable.


What exactly is being done right now?

So, now that you’ve discovered how climate change can have an impact on the ocean, what do you do next? We put our plans into effect. The oceans and marine ecosystems are critical to the survival of the world’s inhabitants. Protection, management, and conservation of the hydrosphere are therefore critical to ensuring the continued provision of carbon sequestration and other services on which people rely. Understanding anthropogenic climate change requires a thorough understanding of the oceans. Ocean research is being carried out by a number of organizations, including those such as the World Climate Research Programme, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and many more, with the goal of improving our understanding of the ocean-atmosphere links and relationships. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in particular partners with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to better understand the consequences of climate change on marine production and fishery productivity.

Countries have also begun to adopt legislation and put in place sustainable practices that will help to maintain the oceans, protect fisheries, and protect marine habitats, among other things. Examples include Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which serve to safeguard marine habitats while also controlling human activities and so contributing to the preservation of climate change resistance. Certain methods, such as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, provide marine protected areas (MPAs) with sustainable tools for preserving marine ecologies and ecosystems.






Globally, the G7 nations committed in May 2021 to protecting at least 30 percent of the world’s land and at least 30 percent of the world’s ocean by 2030, with a goal of protecting 40 percent by 2050. While this is unquestionably a positive step forward, others may be concerned about how this development will be monitored in the future years. Consider, for example, a publication that highlights specific critical facts that must be examined in conjunction with the 30 x 30 program. However, while 30 percent of the world’s land is designated as areas of particular importance for biodiversity conservation, an additional 20 percent of the planet’s territory must be protected in order to avert the extinction of many species. Additionally, another article claims that conserving 30% of the world’s land will reduce the extinction catastrophe by half; however, this may not meet the standards specified by the United Nations’ International Convention on Biological Diversity (GBF). Furthermore, the 30 × 30 design is not universal, i.e., it may not be multi-purpose due to the differences in biological wealth and natural habitats that exist in different countries, as previously stated. Depending on a country’s ecological riches, certain countries may be required to pay more to the endeavor, but others believe that emerging countries will have an easier time achieving the best result. As a result, an in-depth examination of the 30 x 30 method is required to address this issue.








The ultimate goal is to ensure the correct execution of global plans that can ensure marine and coastal protection, as well as the conservation of the world’s oceans in general, are adopted and implemented. As a result of decades of rising greenhouse gas emissions, the climate has responded in a variety of ways to preserve a safe and healthy environment. However, there is a tipping point that, if reached, will necessitate the implementation of effective remedies.








The governments of more than one hundred countries throughout the world, which are responsible for the vast bulk of these emissions, have made national climate commitments and pledges to reduce their negative environmental consequences on the environment. “When the world talks about the climate issue, the ocean problem must be front and center in that discourse,” noted campaigner and US special climate envoy John Kerry remarked in response to the first-ever UNFCCC Ocean – Climate Dialogue: ” One approach to ensure that happens is to include a provision in the COP26 decision language for the establishment of an ongoing forum for ocean issues here in Glasgow.” Many marine scientists and conservationists viewed the inclusion of the seas in the United Nations Climate Regime as a “victory.” Others disagreed.


With the Paris Agreement, the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow among others, we can definitely say that we are off to a good start. However, much of this progress would require continual updates and revisions to make sure we are on track. By taking certain issues head-on and using nature-based solutions, we can certainly ensure a secure and resilient ecosystem for the years to come.


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