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Oceans play a very important role in moderating climate change by helping in the regulation of both heat and carbon dioxide levels. It is therefore very important to understand the interrelationship between the oceans and climate change so as to come up with better climate change policies. The Oceans are vulnerable to adverse impacts from human emissions of greenhouse gases. These impacts majorly include air and water temperature changes, rising ocean water levels, increased levels of ocean acidification, coastal erosion and seasonal shifts. Ocean acidification is brought about by rising in atmospheric carbon and makes survival harder for planktonic organisms that depend on calcium carbonate to form their shells.
The effects of acidification have been happening since the start of the famous industrial revolution, where pH levels of the ocean have dropped. This has led to coral bleaching where the organisms that help make up the coral die (Buchheim, 1995). It is important to note that it is from these unicellular organisms that the coral feed from for proper nutrition. As a result, they are left so weak and malnourished hence unable to offer protection and shelter to other marine organisms. This poses a threat to the marine food chain and ecosystem.
The rise in ocean temperatures is another change of concern because increased warming in the ocean enhances ocean stratification. Ocean stratification hinders important processes such as photosynthesis and constraining primary production hence disrupting the marine food web. As the ocean water warms, many species will be forced to migrate so they can maintain the temperature conditions they need for feeding and reproduction. This affects the people and industries that rely on the ocean for food and other natural resources. The upwelling areas, for instance, provide some of the richest fishing grounds. It is known that the coral reefs provide habitat for fish and other protein-rich food sources for people as well as tourist attraction sites.
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Ocean currents play an important role in the supply of the necessary nutrients required to sustain lives in the marine ecosystem. The currents result due to varying temperatures associated with the changing attitudes. Slow currents mean fewer nutrients are brought for ocean life sustenance and this in a way alters the marine ecosystem. Slow ocean currents also mean that there is excess carbon stored in the ocean because there is enough fresh water brought in to neutralize the excess carbon.
High concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to increased global temperatures. This results in thermal expansion of ocean water as well as melting of ice sheets and so rise in sea levels(Nicholls, R; et al. (2010)). It is therefore important to come up with policies that have an upper hand in carbon dioxide reduction.
Observing the change in the heat content of the ocean is important so as to understand how exactly the ocean is changing with global warming. A rise in sea level is a notable change in the oceans. Dueto global warming, glaciers and ice sheets are melted and water flows to ocean adding to the amount of seawater (Titus,1989). This, in turn, may lead to erosion of beaches, flooding or even increased the salinity of aquifers and estuaries. The increased salinity threatens aquatic animals and plants that cannot tolerate high levels of salinity.
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