Earth Day Network

The ocean is much more vulnerable than we thought

Our oceans will take a hit living in a 400ppm world

When we think of the ocean, we may think of its power, its wave and the magnificent creatures living it in. Also, the ocean contributes in generating food and oxygen for human being and fighting against climate change by absorbing 93 percent of the carbon dioxide released by human activities. However, the ocean has hit its limit as the water becomes warmer under the influence of climate change and global warming.

 

The latest model predicts that the warmer oceans will bleach almost all the corals in the world by the year of 2050. As the world has surpassed the 400ppm carbon dioxide threshold permanently, the amount of CO2 that the ocean needs to absorb keeps increasing, which is resulting in ocean acidification. These increased levels of ocean acidity are impacting the ability for coral reefs to recover from disturbance and bleaching. In 2005, half the corals in the Caribbean died after warming waters triggered a massive bleaching. About 93 percent of corals in Great Barrier Reef are now experiencing some form of bleaching due to unusually high ocean temperatures that are linked to global warming as well.

 

Warming oceans will lead to more severe weather such as typhoons and hurricanes. According to one study, the number of severe hurricanes has risen by 30 percent per degree of global warming. Also, double hurricane—also known as Fujiwhara Effect—occurred in Hawaii this August.

 

More Actions Are Needed

 

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published a study concluding that the continued warming of the oceans is the greatest hidden challenge of our generation. More action is needed to protect the ocean both nationally and globally. Since early September, President Barack Obama has created the world’s largest marine protected area in Hawaii as well as the first marine national monument in the Atlantic, which suggests a growing recognition of the significance of ocean conservation.

 

Henan Sun, Intern