The Effects Of Climate Change On Oceans

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In addition to carbon dioxide levels and surface temperatures, oceans also provide scientists with evidence of climate change. Oceans play a major role in climate change because they absorb almost all (90% from 1971-2010) of the energy increase in the climate system (“Summary”, 2013, p. 8). Scientists are confident that ocean surface temperatures have increased since the beginning of industrialization (“Summary”, 2013, p. 8) and that humans have contributed to this ocean warming (“Summary”, 2013, p. 17). From 1971-2010, ocean surface temperatures have increased approximately 0.4-0.5°C and are projected to increase by 0.3-2.0°C by 2100 (“Summary”, 2013, p. 8). However, temperature is not the only effect of climate change on oceans; other…show more content…
The decrease in salinity lowers the density of the northern water, which in turn reduces the difference in density between the northern and southern waters. As a result, the force that equilibrates the northern and southern waters weakens. As Arctic ice continues to melt, the AMOC could be further weakened “within a decade or two” and may even shut down currents between northern Canada, Greenland, and northern Europe (Rahmstorf et al. 478-479), The AMOC is likely to weaken by 2050 and very likely to weaken by the end of the 21st century. While the AMOC is unlikely to “collapse or completely shut down” in the 21st century, it is not impossible that it will shut down any time after that (“Summary”, 2013, p. 24). The AMOC shows that weakening currents are possible and probable and could lead to an increase in more extreme climates. In addition to weakening global currents, climate change also causes sea levels to rise. According to the IPCC Fifth Assessment report, sea levels have risen 0.19m from 1901-2010 and have been increasing faster in the last 50 years than in the previous 2000 years (“Summary”, 2013, p. 11). Climate scientists are concerned about rising sea levels because they have the potential to affect coastal sea levels. Research shows that if the global average sea level increases by 20%, 70% of the world’s coastal sea levels could be affected (“Summary”, 2013, p. 12). Projections show
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