Climate change is causing ocean acidification and warming
Ocean acidification is threatening the life of many marine organisms, including crustaceans, mollusks, and coral reefs.
The oceans have absorbed 80% of all excess heat in the Earth’s system and about one-third of the carbon emissions released by humans over the past 200 years. This is causing:
- Ocean warming, which is threatening coral, phytoplankton, and other marine life and is creating regions with levels of oxygen too low to sustain marine life.
- Changes in the ocean chemisty, referred to as ocean acidification, which can make it difficult for many marine animals to grow, build shells, reproduce and respond to other stresses.
The pteropod, or “sea butterfly”, is a tiny sea creature about the size of a small pea. Pteropods are eaten by organisms ranging in size from tiny krill to whales and are a major food source for North Pacific juvenile salmon. The photos below show what happens to a pteropod’s shell when placed in sea water with pH and carbonate levels projected for the year 2100. The shell slowly dissolves after 45 days. Photo credit: David Liittschwager/National Geographic Stock. Used with permission. All rights reserved. National Geographic Images.
The CLIMATE CHANGE presentation provides an understanding of the major impacts of climate change on our oceans and also on the rest of the planet.
All PDFs of the Oceans PowerPoint presentations are available under “Educational Material”.
- Arctic faces further threat from ocean acidification (guardian.co.uk)
- Ocean acidity dissolving tiny snails’ protective shell –http://www.climate.gov/news-features/featured-images/ocean-acidity-dissolving-tiny-snails%E2%80%99-protective-shell