Our Oceans Are Warming Faster Than Expected…What Does That Mean For Us?

by Juliette Baumann

Did you know that our oceans are warming at an alarming rate? Up to 90 percent of human carbon emissions is absorbed by our oceans. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that our oceans are heating up around 40 percent faster than they had previously estimated. What does this mean for us?

            Generally, when non-scientists think about climate change, they are more focused on weather patterns and air temperatures. However, scientists use the ocean to help them understand how our global warming is affecting us and how it will continue to affect us. The ability to determine how fast the oceans are warming helps scientists to consider the Earth’s sensitivity to our emissions and how quickly it may harm our environment. A climate scientist has even once compared the ocean to a “thermometer” for the planet, like how humans use a thermometer to determine if they are sick.

            Our oceans warming can be a bigger problem than it appears, because this can have a devastating affect on the ocean ecosystem. Ocean warming can cause mass coral bleaching and can also force certain species to migrate because they cannot survive in warmer waters. Additionally, when ocean waters warm, they expand, which will in turn contribute to a sea level rise. In models that scientists have created, a 1.5 degrees increase in the ocean’s temperature is the equivalent of nearly a foot of sea-level rise.

            Reports say we only have until 2030 to change our ways, or our environment will face devastating environmental effects. Here are some ways you can do your part:

  • Reduce your use of chemicals by switching to products that are non-toxic and foods that are grown without the use of pesticides!
  • Create a habit of using reusable products such as bags, straws, beverage cups, and containers. If you really need to throw something away, make sure to recycle it or use it for as long as possible!
  • Cut down on your carb emissions. This is having a massive impact on our ocean because it absorbs most of our emissions! Try to find a renewable energy program that you can switch over to and try to walk, bike, take the bus or carpool wherever you have to go! 
  • Don’t litter! 

Making these changes may be a slight inconvenience until you get used to them, but consider our Earth’s future. If we keep this up, we wont have any Earth left.

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