What is Global Warming and How Does it Affect the Ocean?

polar-bear-globalwarmingWe’ve all heard the buzz terms ‘Global warming’ and ‘Climate change’ at some stage of our lives.

How many of us can actually say we understand these things, though?

The scary thing is – we really need to!

In fact, we should be much more worried about climate change than we should about terrorism, and if we even spent a percentage of the budget we spend on defence on fixing our environment, we’d ironically do a far better job of ensuring our survival not only as individual nations but as a species as a whole.

Let’s recap on what global warming is before we take a look at how it specifically impacts oceans and ultimately us.

488048-3x2-940x627In a nutshell, global warming occurs when radioactive waves from the sun, called UV rays in common parlance, bounce off the earth’s surface but are unable to escape the layer of smog and carbon-based pollution hanging in our atmosphere, which forces them back down to the surface, causing the temperature at the surface to rise.

It’s a crude, simplified explanation, we know, but it explains the basics.

The problem with temperatures rising is that a sizable portion of the earth’s water is actually frozen in the ice caps at both poles. When temperatures rise, these ice caps melt, ever so slowly but surely, and as they pour into the oceans, they cause sea levels to begin to creep up.

This is problem number one. Coastal areas, which tend to be overly populated, are in great peril as a result of rising sea levels. Imagine the chaos that would unfold in and around Shanghai if the ocean rose by enough to flood a city that size?

The second problem is that rising temperatures in general, cause the temperature of the water in the oceans to rise gradually, too. This is a huge problem since the complex, intertwined and fragile ecosystems which the oceans play crucial roles in are directly threatened by these rising temperatures.

a temperature rise of even 1 degree could cause untold havoc in our oceanic systemsClick To Tweet

It may not seem like much to us, but a temperature rise of even 1 degree could cause untold havoc in our oceanic systems. Life forms from algae to whales would be affected, and as links in the chain begin to snap under the growing pressure, eventually the chain comes apart and the whole ecosystem fails.

The problem, of course, is that the changes global warming is forcing upon our oceans are both too gradual for us to directly notice and are too far removed from our everyday lives to grab our immediate attention.

Yet they are as real as a threat directly in front of our faces. If we don’t take immediate action to reduce our environmental impacts and reduce the speed at which global warming occurs, we could be in for a very ugly ride a lot sooner than you might think.

We’re talking a few decades now rather than centuries before we begin to feel major impacts. Only we, together as a collective, can work to stop the effects of global warming and climate change on our mother ocean.

Global warming is happening NOW. Therefore, our counteractions and solutions need to happen NOW, too.

Global warming is happening NOW. Therefore, our counteractions and solutions need to happen NOW, too.Click To Tweet

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