World - 90% of Earth’s Warming in 1971–2010 Happened in the Ocean
For years (and we mean many years), the ocean helped us mitigate the early effects of human emissions by absorbing greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and heat, from the atmosphere.
As a result, more than 90 percent of the warming that happened on Earth between 1971 and 2010 occurred in the ocean. A selfless act by Mother Nature, but it’s catching up to us.
Climate change, which describes long-term changes to temperature and typical weather, is accelerating at an alarming pace — and the impacts are hard to ignore. Let’s take a look at some changes to our ocean.
3 Ways Climate Change Affects Our Ocean
Rising Sea Levels
Sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in 3,000 years. From 2018 to 2019, the global sea level rose to 6.1 millimeters. Sure, a few millimeters doesn’t sound like a lot, until you hear that the average, since 1993, has been 3.2 millimeters per year. That means that last year we doubled the global average from the past twenty years! The same report shares that the U.S. East Coast’s average is actually three to four times the global average. The ocean is rising, and it’s rising fast.
The two major causes are thermal expansion (warm water expands), and melting glaciers and ice sheets. Why should we care? Rising sea levels increase the amount and severity of floods and shoreline erosion. It may also destroy wildlife habitats on the shoreline, interfere with coastal farming, and contaminate potable water sources.