Researchers at the University of British Columbia have conducted a study which once again confirms the worrying effect global warming has on marine life. According to the study which appeared in the journal Science the greenhouse emissions coming from the burning of fossil fuels is increasing and consequently is stressing the marine life which is already affected by overfishing, destruction of coastal ecosystems and pollution.
Since industrial times seas and oceans have functioned as a carbon sinks, absorbing 90 percent of the excess heat which was emitted in the atmosphere and 28 percent of the carbon pollution. Over the 20th century the temperature of the sea surface has increased and it continues to do so. Starting with 1901 and throughout 2014 the temperatures increased at the average rate of 0.13°F each decade. Moreover in the last three decades the surface temperatures have been the highest ever since observations began in 1880.
According to the lead author of the study marine biologist William Cheung the CO2 in the atmosphere and the CO2 in the ocean have a strong connection and this ultimately leads to the acidification of the ocean.
Because of CO2 the ocean is heating, it loses oxygen and it is tuning more acidic. The CO2 from burning fossil fuels changes the chemistry of the ocean and this is happening faster than the Great Dying natural even which occurred 250 million years ago.
Co-author of the study Carol Turley from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory said:
“The ocean is at the frontline of climate change with its physics and chemistry being altered at an unprecedented rate so much so that ecosystems and organisms are already changing and will continue to do so as we emit more CO2.”
This is extremely important since the ocean regulates our climate and weather and it also provides half of the oxygen in the atmosphere besides minerals, energy, food and drugs. That is why policy makers are urged to acknowledge the consequences of these severe changes and pay more attention to the worrying effect global warming has on marine life in international talks.
According to the research the increased acidification of the ocean will most likely influence reproduction, growth rates of the marine organisms – particularly those with skeletons and calcium carbonate shells and larval feeding and survival.
Image Source: International Science Times