IPCC study shows how the ocean plays huge role in earth temperatures

Our ocean absorbs a huge amount of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere; approximately 40 per cent of CO2 emissions since the beginning of the industrial era have been absorbed by the ocean. This occurs through diffusion from air and ocean pressure, and photosynthesis in algae and phytoplankton. This big carbon dioxide sink covers 71 per cent of the earth's surface and could play a huge part in turning climate change around, should the human race take care of it. 

There has been a significant increase in awareness about the dangers facing functioning ocean systems and marine food webs. For example, efforts are being made to protect species such as Posidonia seagrass in the Mediterranean, which can effectively sequester carbon and produce significant amounts of oxygen.

The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) has conducted a study on the mechanisms of the oceans, finding that it plays a huge role in regulating the Earth’s temperature. The findings report that, “since 1970, the global ocean has warmed unabated and has taken up more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system.”

Clare Brook, CEO of Blue Marine Foundation, explained, “It has been estimated that the earth would be 36 degrees warmer without the ocean.”

Written in the IPCC study, “Oceans aren’t just a victim of climate change but also a part of the solution. It’s estimated that ocean-based climate action can help to close the ‘emissions’ gap by 21 per cent for a warming scenario of 1.5°C and by 25 per cent for a 2°C pathway by 2050.”

The life in the ocean consumes a massive amount of CO2. Approximately 34 million tons of carbon is stored annually in global mangroves alone  (Sutton-Grier et al., 2017). These mangroves, as well as terrestrial soils, seagrass and salt marshes, do not get saturated with carbon when they absorb it, but the carbon can be released if disturbed from deforestation, trawling or any other marine activities. This is why areas in our ocean need to be protected, alike how the Posidonia meadows are.

In addition, mesopelagic fish play a huge role in carbon removal from the atmosphere through their mass consumption of plankton that they eat from the water’s surface.

These concepts may be difficult to visualise, however it is apparent how the decline in ocean health impacts business; this will make the affects burdening the ocean more palpable to those who currently do not pay attention. According to the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cyrosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) study, a decline in the health of the ocean would have a ripple effect on the global economy. The study states, “If human impacts on the ocean continue unabated, declines in ocean health and services are projected to cost the global economy $428 billion per year by 2050 and $1.979 trillion per year by 2100.”

The marine industry would not exist without the ocean, so it is so important to preserve it to enjoy it. The earth needs to breathe, so let the lungs of the earth provide us with the answer.

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Source: Superyacht News  


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