Storms are becoming stronger and more frequent and are also becoming less predictable. Because of drought conditions and an increase in lightning strikes, wildfires are increasing in frequency and size.
This is the Keeling Curve—named for the researcher who began measuring carbon dioxide atop Hawaii's Mauna Loa in the late 1950s, Charles David Keeling. This graph shows the annual rise in the amount of atmospheric CO2 in parts per million. James Hansen, the just retired, famous climatologist of NASA, has researched global warming longer than just about anyone. He was the first to testify before Congress, in 1988, that global warming was real. He calculated, and other leading scientists agree, that 350 ppm is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.When Keeling began his research about 1958, the level was at 315 ppm. Ice cores from the Antarctic show the number held steady between 275 and 280 for millennia. In May of this year, that number hit the 400 mark.
The ocean is a major driver of climate change. Through regional scale upwelling and downwelling and a process called thermohaline circulation, large amounts of heat are redistributed around the planet. These changes may lead to a change in ocean circulation, as well as increased storm activity.Wind patterns over the oceans are expected to change and strengthen as the global climate changes. Wind variability is also expected to cause increases in adverse ocean conditions that may not be tolerable for many marine animals.
Acidosis occurs when there is a buildup of carbonic acid in body fluid. Most susceptible are the egg and larval stages. Acidosis can result in a lowered immunity, metabolic imbalance, problems with reproduction, respiratory difficulties and death.
The steady rise in ocean acidification caused by the conversion of excess levels of carbon dioxide into carbonic acid is increasingly worrisome. As the amount of CO2 in the ocean increases, so does the water’s acidity. Rising acidity depletes the molecules that organisms absorb in order to create their shells. Greater energy is then spent on shell production, which means they have less energy for finding food, growth, and reproduction. CO2-enriched seawater impacts calcifying marine organisms from coral to pteropods, diatoms, and echinoderms; compromises the growth, metamorphosis, and survival of larval stages of calcifying bivalves; and interferes with the formation of skeletons in many other marine organisms.
Zooxanthellae are the photosynthetic algae that has a mutualistic relationship with coral.
A .3 drop in pH level could cause sound to travel up to 70% farther.
Melting ice seeps through cracks and lubricates the bottom of glaciers, speeding up the rate of their melt. As pollutants from industry, wildfires, and volcanoes travel through the atmosphere on currents of air, they may darken the ice and snow, causing absorption of heat from the sun rather than reflection, which causes more melting. It has been suggested that Greenland use this type of melt as a source of hydrologic energy.I highly recommend the movie Chasing Ice byJames Balog. Greenland’s ice melt in 2012 was “the largest in the satellite record since 1979, and melting lasted almost two months longer than average. This was the first year in the satellite record that the entire ice sheet experienced melt at some point in the season.” http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/2013/02/greenland-melting-2012-in-review/
Snow is highly reflective and will bounce back about 80-90% of the sunlight that hits it. With less reflectivity, it will absorb more heat. Over 90% of the Earth’s increased heat is absorbed by the ocean. Cold seawater has a lower pH, and, therefore, a higher acidity.
The warm and cold waters can’t passively mix across the thermocline, but wind, upwelling, downwelling, and storms help move the water.Mixing is critical for ecosystem productivity by bringing nutrients to the surface and oxygen to deeper waters.As water temperatures increase, the thermocline becomes a stronger barrier.
“Global sea level rise will have a disproportionate effect along the Gulf Coast shoreline because of its flat topography, regional land subsidence, extensive shoreline development, and vulnerability to major storms. Climate models project sea-level rise along the Gulf Coast ranging from over 8 to almost 20 inches in the next century. “ Even with only a few inches of sea-level rise, the Gulf Coast coastline will move quite far inland. This threatens houses, community infrastructure, port facilities, and ecosystems.www.ucsusa.org.assets/documents/global_warming/gulfcoast.pdf
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Oceanic Effects DueTo
The Earth, from space, looks peaceful,
but a closer look shows a very different
Photograph by John Stanmeyer/VII www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/images/www.inc.com
What is climate change?
Climate change refers to the long-term trend of
documented changes that have occurred over
hundreds and thousands of years.
Weather, however, is what we hear about on the
news, what is happening now.
• Our climate has always been variable.
• Glacial periods and warmer periods have
occurred throughout Earth’s history.
• This variability is natural and is caused by
• Global temperature change (between glacial and
interglacial periods) occurs normally at a rate of
0.05 – 0.005 C every 100yrs.
• In the last 50yrs the global average temperature
has increased by 0.5 degrees
• This is between 20 and 200 times the normal
rate, and it’s accelerating
Increase in storm activity.
Increase in frequency and
dist. of hypoxic events.
Sea level rise
Water column stratification
OCEANCIRCULATION Climate change alters the mechanisms that impact
ocean circulation , like wind, rain, temperature, and
Stronger winds will propel
such a rapid and intense
upwelling of nutrients
that in turn, the
distribution of hypoxic
events will increase.
Fortunately…… corals can often make a complete
recovery if unfavorable conditions abate
quickly enough. Bleached corals have the
ability to recapture zooxanthellae that are
more tolerant of high temperatures.
The ocean has a better
chance of resiliency when
its systems are healthy.
We can help by reducing
the stressors that we can
control at a local level,
such as nutrient pollution
Coral reefs are particularly sensitive to ocean acidification; corals are
unable to form their skeletons as quickly as they used to and reefs
are starting to crumble and disappear. We may lose those
ecosystems within 20-30 years. In those structures live an estimated
million species; one in every four species in the ocean lives on a coral
reef. ~Ken Caldeira, Ph.D. – Carnegie Institute
o The absorption of sound in seawater changes with
the seawater’s chemistry.
o Changes in ocean acidity will affect how sound
o When the ocean absorbs less sound, the low
frequency background noises of military sonar,
shipping, and seismic exploration may interfere
with whales’ ability to communicate.
“We have two sea levels: the sea level of today, and
the far higher sea level that is already being locked in
for some distant tomorrow.” ~Ben Strauss, climatecentral.org
• The cities of Newtok,Alaska, and Kivalina,Alaska are
losing ground to the sea at a dangerous rate. Exile is
inevitable for its inhabitants. They will become the
first climate refugees of the U.S.
Earth gets warmer,
causing arctic ocean
Dark ocean reflects
less sunlight, absorbs
White sea ice melts,
exposing dark ocean
THE ALBEDO FEEDBACK LOOP
Warmer surface waters are less
dense and float on top of
denser, colder waters. The
boundary between warmer and
colder waters is called the
A reduction in upwelling and mixing can result in local or
widespread biomass loss and changes in species composition.
Coastal zones are
likely to be
by the higher
CO2 levels predicted
for the open ocean
in the future.
Through education about the
cultural and ecological heritage of
the Gulf Coast region that is at risk,
we can raise awareness and
understanding of global climate
change. This education must
include the fundamentals of
ecology and climate, and
what drives them to change.
“Ignorance of the things that we understand
we should know but do not leaves us vulnerable
to unintended consequences of our actions.”
U.S. Geological Survey
10 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO
PROTECT THE OCEAN
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