How is Climate Change Affecting Our Oceans?

By Katie Coughlan – 1 st Year

Ocean Heat

The heat in the ocean has increased substantially since the 1950s. Ocean heat not only affects the temperatures of the sea surface but also affects the temperature of the sea levels and currents. There are also a number of problems affecting rising ocean levels, including the thermal expansion of seawater, the melting of ice glaciers, ice sheets and possibly human changes to groundwater storage.

Ocean surface temperatures increased around the world during the 20th century. Even with some variations of change during the years, sea surface temperatures have been consistently getting higher each year during the past 30 years.

Waste in the oceans is not just affecting the oceans, but the cities and countries, mostly around the U.S. coastline as sea level rises. The rate is growing more rapidly in many areas around the East and Gulf coasts. The ocean has become more toxic over the past few decades caused by the atmospheric carbon dioxide, which dissolves in water. High acidity affects the balance of minerals in the water which can make it difficult for certain marine animals to build their protective shell. If climate change continues to grow at such a high rate, Ireland's oceans are to increase by two degrees by the end of the century. Climate change is having a dramatic impact on Europe including Ireland. Some of these effects already happened during the start of October 2017.

Temperature increase in the oceans are leading to fish stocks moving to the north to cooler water. Coral bleaching is one of the most dramatic effects of climate change, a stress response to high water temperatures that leads to the death of coral. More than eighty percent of the world's marine life are migrating to different habitats as far as 600 miles away from their original habitat because of climate change. Walking to school, the shops or riding a bike could help prevent the globe getting hotter.

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