The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on Friday, in which it stated that the evidence that climate change is caused by human activity has become a fact. It also stated that without the oceans, who have been absorbing most of the CO2 and the negative effects of climate change, at cost to their own health, we would be suffering far more severe weather.
Some people claim that the planet has actually started to cool, but the IPCC state that it is still heating up, and that the fact that the rate of warming may have slowed, does not mean that the climate is cooling.
According to the report each of the past three decades, has been warmer than all previous decades since 1850, and that the 30 year period between 1983 and 2012 has been the warmest in the Northern Hemisphere for 1,400 years.
The IPCC claims that without the 320 million cubic miles of seawater across the planet that absorb 93 percent of the heat trapped by rising greenhouse gas levels, the climate change we are experiencing would be many times worse.
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Trevor Manuel, the co-chair of the Global Ocean Commission, confirmed that “without the immense capacity of the ocean to absorb heat and carbon dioxide, we would be experiencing much more severe climate change impacts than we see today.”
The ocean’s surface water first absorbs the heat, but with time that is then passed down into deeper water where it not only kills marine flora and fauna, but also shifts ecosystems, changes ocean currents, and causes seawater to expand, raising global sea levels.
Qin Dahe, IPCC co-chair, explains that “as the ocean warms, and glaciers and ice sheets reduce, global mean sea level will continue to rise, but at a faster rate than we have experienced over the past 40 years.” The oceans are also absorbing about 25% of the CO2 in the atmosphere, increasing their acidity.
A major problem that will result from this change to the oceans, is the loss of wildlife, which will basically mean less fish to eat. David Milliband, another co-chair of the Global Ocean Commission, said that “disruption to ocean life results in less food for people — that's the stark reality. With nearly a billion hungry people in the world already, we need to take every option we can for increasing our food supply sustainably, rather than allowing climate change to compromise it.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com