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The Impact Of Global Warming On Oceans

1837 words - 7 pages

Water takes up a larger percentage of the surface of our Earth than does land. The earth’s oceans are vital aspects to our environment and it is necessary that we take care of them. On another note, global warming is an issue that is having effects on almost all aspects of our environment. Global warming itself means a gradual increase in the temperature of our Earth’s atmosphere over large periods of time. There is evidence that global warming has occurred in the atmosphere, however, now we are beginning to see its effects in the world’s oceans, as well. Though some may not see the connection that it has with the oceans, it has had quite a profound effect on our Earth’s oceans. As I mentioned before, oceans are environments that must maintain each characteristic in order to survive. If one aspect of the ocean becomes altered, it leads to many consequences.
     Oceans are one of the most difficult areas to measure and take data from in our environment. However, we must first explore whether the oceans are actually being affected by global warming or not. Scientists have tried to use computerized models of our Earth’s oceans in order to make predictions on global warming effects. Teams of oceanographers have also been compiling ocean temperature readings from 1948 to 1996 in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. The study done by this team came to the conclusion that ocean temperatures below 300 meters have been raised a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit since the 1950s. Also, closer to the surface, ocean waters have increased in temperature by about 0.5 degrees (Pawelski, 2000). The principal author of this study and chief of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Climate Laboratory, Sydney Levitus, said, “These temperature changes may seem small, but they represent very large changes in heat content of the ocean, and this heat will eventually find it its way back to the atmosphere.” (Pawelski, 2000). Thus, although these temperature changes in the ocean seem small, they can have quite a large effect on our Earth’s atmosphere. Levitus also mentions that a large portion of global warming that seems to be absent in our atmosphere is actually in our oceans. We have found the “missing warming” in our oceans and now it is necessary that we try to reduce it (Kerr, 2000). From Levitus’ study alone and also from recent attempts to digitize ocean data, we realize that global warming actually does have quite an impact on our oceans.
     Now that we are aware that global warming is influencing our world’s oceans, we must look at the affects that it is having. I did not find any positive affects of global warming on the oceans. It is sad to say, but I was left with only the negative. One of the effects that warmer temperatures have on the oceans is that they disrupt the ocean circulation rate (Pearce, 1996). As I previously mentioned, oceans must maintain all of its characteristics...

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