The world's oceans have reached the tipping point for survival due to warming waters, says new research.
The Earth has been depending on the ocean for keeping global warming in check, but new data is finding the oceans can no longer absorb enough of the carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere, and the result is the oceans of the world have reached the limit of their ability to protect the world.
A new report, released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), says falling stocks of fish and dying corals are at a tipping point now, and people across the globe are already experiencing the consequences.
The world’s oceans have absorbed 93 percent of the carbon dioxide released by human activities since around 1970, according to the report, and Dan Laffoley, principal advisor of marine science and conservation for IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme, says our lower atmosphere would be 36 degrees Celsius warmer if the oceans had not been providing the relief.
ICUN’s director general, Inger Andersen, says everyone knows the oceans are sustaining the planet, and still, “we are making the oceans sick.” Andersen continued to say that without global warming being checked, the oceans will continue to warm by as much as 4 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, about which she says, “In an ecological timescale, 2100 is tomorrow.”
The biggest problem is the fish and marine animals are migrating northward toward cooler waters, to areas in which the water was previously too cold for them. This migration is devastating the livelihoods of those areas of the world that depend on fishing for the local economy. Marine animals are migrating north five times faster than land animals.
Models also predict that by the year 2050, warmer ocean water will have bleached nearly all of the world’s coral reefs, leaving warmer water to spread dangerous bacteria and algal blooms that can lead to neurological diseases.
The answer to the problem is easy to identify, but difficult to achieve. Experts call for cutting carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, and creating protected areas for marine animals, to allow nature’s immune system to react to the changes.