How oceans serve as a buffer against greenhouse gas emissions
The world’s oceans contain some of the most vital ecosystems on Earth. But with greenhouse gas emissions on the rise and the oceans working as carbon storage facilities, marine habitats, and coastal communities are most at risk if climate change continues unchecked.
The world’s oceans absorb a significant amount carbon pollution, which keeps us from experiencing the full impact of climate change.
However, this means that even with mitigation strategies in place, we will be feeling the effects of climate change for many years to come.
The report discusses sea-level rise, future changes in major ocean currents, and ocean acidification, among other effects of climate change.
According to the report, the world’s oceans have absorbed 93 percent of the excess heat caused by greenhouse gas emissions trapped in the atmosphere.
Ocean temperatures have steadily increased over the years, and according to the report, the oceans could warm as much as 5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.
The climate assessment also reveals that since 1900, sea level has risen approximately eight inches. This, in turn, has triggered coastal flooding and could devastate coastal communities in the future.
By taking a wide-reaching yet detailed look at the impacts of climate change, anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and the warming oceans, the report shows that human activities are some of the leading causes of warming oceans today.
“This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” the authors write. “For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.