Most of the Globe’s Warming is Happening in the Oceans

Paraphrasing from Climate Central (https://www.climatecentral.org/outreach/alert-archive/2016WorldOceansDay.php): Humans are pumping more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – primarily through burning of fossil fuels like oil and gas for transportation and electricity generation. Those gases are trapping more and more heat and causing the surface of the planet to warm. But what you may not know is that warming on the surface only about 7% of the excess heat our planet is taking on. The other 93% goes into the oceans, setting the stage for more extreme storms, rising sea levels, melting sea ice, and a host of other impacts.

One of the most visible impacts of higher ocean temperatures is coral bleaching. Coral reefs are ecosystems that serve several important societal purposes — protecting coastlines, supporting fisheries, and drawing tourism dollars globally. When ocean temperatures get too high, the symbiotic relationship between corals and their algae becomes disrupted. During a bleaching event, the coral expels the algae, depriving the coral of both color and nourishment. The starving coral then turns white and is more susceptible to disease, and ultimately, death.

Categories: Weather Blog