Report: Global warming is causing ‘unprecedented changes’ to oceans

Artic ice levels have decreased about 13% a decade since 1979, according to a new report released Wednesday. NASA Photo by Norwegian Polar Institute

Sept. 23 (UPI) — Human-induced global warming is “causing unprecedented changes” to the oceans including warming waters, decreasing ice levels and rising seas, according to a recently published report by more than 150 scientists.

Published Wednesday, the annual Ocean State Report 5 by the Copernicus Marine Service and Mercator Ocean International is a far-reaching analysis of the health of the world’s oceans.

The report published in the Journal of Operational Oceanography said that globally, sea temperatures have been rising at a rate of 0.015 degrees Celsius a year since 1993. Meanwhile, Artic ice levels have decreased nearly 13% per decade since 1979 with record lows recorded in the last two years.

This warming of the oceans and the melting of ice have caused sea levels to rise by 3.1 mm a year with the Baltic Sea seeing the largest annual growth at 4.5 mm a year.

“Climate change, pollution and overexploitation have created unprecedented pressure on the ocean, which not only makes up 71% of the Earth’s surface but it is also responsible for regulating Earth’s climate and sustaining life,” Karina von Schuckmann, oceanographer at the Copernicus Marine Service and chair of the report, said in a press release.

The report continued that the Artic Ocean was responsible for an estimated 4% of the warming of the world’s oceans.

This global warning, it said, is causing most marine species to move deeper toward the poles while warm water species are spreading to new areas and becoming invasive.

“As a result of climate change, ocean warming is one of the major factors affecting marine species, through migration, causing changing conditions for fisheries with societal and economic implications,” the report’s summary said. “The migration of hundreds of species moving to higher altitudes and greater depths with warming has been recorded. ”

Concerning the impacts of the world’s changing oceans the report focused on Venice, Italy, which in November of 2019 suffered from four successive extreme water events, mainly caused by a higher than average sea level.

The report documented on Nov. 12 of that year water levels rose to 6.2 feet, the highest on record since 1966, leaving the city unprepared.

The Copernicus Marine Service, funded by the EU, is designed to serve EU policies, it said on its website, and seeks to provide scientific information for ocean governance while developing new tracking and forecasting tools.


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