Global Warming and Marine ecosystems

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Global Warming and Marine ecosystems

Why does sea surface warming threaten marine ecosystems?

Air temperature increase

Increase of CO2 in Atmosphere

Global and Local Climat Changes

Sea Level Rise

Changes in Oceans' temperature, salinity and acidity leads to:Migration and Extinction of Species

Melting Polar Ice Caps

- The ocean plays a fundamental role in shaping the climate zones we see on land. Even areas hundreds of miles away from any coastline are still largely influenced by the global ocean system.- The world’s ocean is crucial to heating the planet. The majority of the sun’s radiation is absorbed by the ocean. Particularly in the tropical waters around the equator, the ocean acts a as massive, heat-retaining solar panel. - The ocean helps to distribute heat around the globe. Ocean water is constantly evaporating, increasing the temperature and humidity of the surrounding air to form rain and storms that are then carried by trade winds, often vast distances. In fact, almost all rain that falls on land starts off in the ocean. The tropics are particularly rainy because heat absorption, and thus ocean evaporation, is highest in this area.- Outside of Earth’s equatorial areas, weather patterns are driven largely by ocean currents. Currents are movements of ocean water in a continuous flow, created largely by surface winds but also partly by temperature and salinity gradients, Earth’s rotation, and tides. - Ocean currents act much like a conveyer belt, transporting warm water and precipitation from the equator toward the poles and cold water from the poles back to the tropics. Thus, currents regulate global climate, helping to counteract the uneven distribution of solar radiation reaching Earth’s surface. Without currents, regional temperatures would be more extreme—super hot at the equator and frigid toward the poles—and much less of Earth’s land would be habitable.- When global warming changes the ocean temperature and the its salinity, the oceans' climate regulator role is modifided leading to frequente regional extreme weather such as storms, floods and droughts.

- Scientific research indicates sea levels worldwide have been rising at a rate of 0.14 inches (3.5 millimeters) per year since the early 1990s. The trend, linked to global warming, puts thousands of coastal cities and even whole islands at risk of being claimed by the ocean. - The rise in sea levels is linked to three primary factors, all induced by this ongoing global climate change:Thermal expansion: When water heats up, it expands. About half of the past century's rise in sea level is attributable to warmer oceans simply occupying more space.Melting of glaciers and polar ice caps: Large ice formations, like glaciers and the polar ice caps, naturally melt back a bit each summer. But in the winter, snows, made primarily from evaporated seawater, are generally sufficient to balance out the melting. Recently, though, persistently higher temperatures caused by global warming have led to greater-than-average summer melting as well as diminished snowfall due to later winters and earlier springs. This imbalance results in a significant net gain in runoff versus evaporation for the ocean, causing sea levels to rise.Ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica: As with glaciers and the ice caps, increased heat is causing the massive ice sheets that cover Greenland and Antarctica to melt at an accelerated pace. Scientists also believe meltwater from above and seawater from below is seeping beneath Greenland's and West Antarctica's ice sheets, effectively lubricating ice streams and causing them to move more quickly into the sea. Moreover, higher sea temperatures are causing the massive ice shelves that extend out from Antarctica to melt from below, weaken, and break off.- As the sea levels rise rapidly effects coastal habitats. As seawater reaches farther inland, it can cause destructive erosion, flooding of wetlands, contamination of aquifers and agricultural soils, and lost habitat for fish, birds, and plants.- When large storms hit land, higher sea levels mean bigger, more powerful storm surges that can strip away everything in their path. - In addition, hundreds of millions of people live in areas that will become increasingly vulnerable to flooding. Higher sea levels would force them to abandon their homes and relocate. Low-lying islands could be submerged completely.

- Oceans play an important role in keeping the Earth's carbon cycle in balance. Ocean absorbs CO2 from atmosphere. This processe leads to changes in ocean chemistry, becaming more acidic. -Ocean temperature and salinity changes when receiving the melted wather fromthe polar ice caps.-Changes in ocean chemistry together with the sea temperature modification affects the supply of nutrients and food chains. This affects the distribution, abundance, breeding cycles and migrations of marine plants and animals from which millions of people rely on for food and income. - Coral reefs die as ocean temperatures rise and water acidifies. The loss of coral reefs will reduce habitats for many other sea creatures, and it will disrupt the food web that connects all the living things in the ocean.- Plankton, which is base of many marine food chains, is changing its distrbution location for sites with favorable temperature and chemical composition. The species envolved in these food chains will have to move and find new sites with food. If they dont succed, their populaton might reduce dramatically and lead to extinction.-Changes in distribuition and marine stocks will affect the population globaly, specially the coastal cities with economies highly dependent on the ocean resources.


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