Ocean Warming

  • Rise In Temperature: Rising ocean temperatures are making some extreme weather events worse by supercharging storms and altering global weather patterns. Warm surface waters provide energy for hurricanes and other tropical cyclones, increasing their frequency and severity. Over the past centuries, the average ocean temperature rose at an average of about 0.130F per decade and over the past 30 years, ocean surface temperature has been consistently higher. Weather patterns are changing due to warmer ocean temperatures because the ocean is key to the movement of water around the globe. Due to its enormous size, the ocean helps power weather by driving the planet’s evaporation and precipitation cycles.
  • Rising Sea Level: the rising sea levels represents a slow, seemingly unstoppable threat. Seas are rising around the globe because the earth is warming. There are two contributing factors to the rise: seawater expands as it warms, and ice sheets and glaciers are melting into the ocean. For the past 25 years, the seas have not only been rising and the rate of that rise is increasing. By 2100, the seas could rise anywhere between five inches and 10 feet, depending on what actions we take. Since 1993, the seas have been rising at a rate that is twice as fast as a long-term trend. Rising oceans contribute to flooding.
  • Ocean Acidification: Ocean water absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere which lowers its pH and results in higher acid contents, this reduces the concentration of calcium carbonate which makes it difficult for ocean species to form shells or skeletons. Roughly one-third of the carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by human activities is absorbed by the ocean. While this process offsets some climate impacts, when carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, it forms carbonic acid and decreases the pH of the water.
  • Ocean Deoxygenation: Human activities are the primary cause of ocean deoxygenation in both coastal environments and in the open ocean. The burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, agriculture, and other activities cause an increase in greenhouse gases like CO2, which causes the earth to warm.

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