By: Melissa Santiago
For the fourth week working on Marine Life and Global Warming I mainly focus on finding more information on the different factors that affect our marine life and also global warming.
Oceans cover about 70% of the earth and support an incredible variety of life, including the world’s largest mammal, the Blue Whale. The oceans are a significant source of oxygen for our planet and are instrumental in the capture and storage of carbon dioxide. Marine species provide important ecosystem services such as the provision of food, medicines, and livelihoods. They also support tourism and recreational activities around the world. This is all changing due to the impact that climate change, ocean acidification, and human activities are having on marine life and global warming.
Climate change is the increasing changes in the measures of climate over a long period of time. It includes precipitation, temperature and wind pattern. Some of the factors that affect climate change are the burning of fossil fuels and converting of land from forests to agriculture. The dominant product of fossil fuel combustion is carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gas is a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation. Carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other substances are climate forcers because they force or push the climate towards being warmer or cooler. They do this by affecting the flow of energy coming into and leaving the earth’s climate system. Small changes in the sun’s energy that reaches the earth can cause some climate change. But what if instead of this climate changes occurring in a long period of time it occurs in a few years how will the things of this planet be able to adapt? To answer this question, life on this planet is not responding too well to this sudden change in the climate. Some species may not adapt fast enough, which might lead to their extinction.
The change of the location of areas with high primary productivity is caused by change in temperatures. Primary producers, such as plankton, are the main food source for marine mammals such as some whales. Species migration will, therefore, be directly affected by locations of high primary productivity. Water temperature changes also affect ocean turbulence, which has a major impact on the dispersion of plankton and other primary producers. Due to global warming and increased glacier melt, Thermohaline circulation patterns may be altered by increasing amounts of freshwater released into oceans and, therefore, changing ocean salinity. Thermohaline circulation is responsible for bringing up cold, nutrient-rich water from the depths of the ocean, a process known as upwelling (US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic, and Atmospheric Administration, 2013).
Polar bears are one of the marine mammals that are most at risk due to climate change (Alastair, 2019). The biggest issue for polar bears related to climate change is the melting of ice as a result of increasing temperatures. When the ice melts, polar bears lose their habitat and food sources. Although polar bears have been known to eat more than 80 species of animals, most of their diet consists of seals, which are also endangered by global warming. There has been an increasing number of polar bear drownings because they become exhausted by having to swim farther to find ice or prey. Marine mammals have evolved to live in oceans, but climate change is affecting their natural habitat (Wikipedia, 2019). The rate at which climate change is occurring is too fast and doesn’t allow the animal time for them to evolve; adapt to the changes in the environment.Short-term climate change impacts on aquaculture can include losses of production and infrastructure arising from extreme events such as floods, increased risks of diseases, parasites and harmful algal blooms. Long-term impacts can include reduced availability of wild seed as well as reduced precipitation leading to increasing competition for freshwater. “World Bank estimates suggest the annual damage to countries within the Caribbean community caused by climate change will rise to US$11 billion by 2080 – a staggering 11 percent of the region’s collective GDP” (Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, 2017). One of the many impacts of climate change is on food safety, for example through changes in the growth rates of pathogenic marine bacteria, or on the incidence of parasites and food-borne viruses. Climate
For the fifth week i plan on working on
Ocean acidification. How it’s affect the Caribbean region.