We are going through a summer with extreme heat waves and our oceans haven’t remained unscathed, breaking temperature records. Just earlier this month, scientists took measurements from the San Diego coast, revealing the highest seawater temperatures since 1916, when daily measurements were introduced.
Marine heat waves
Art Miller, a scientist from Scripps Institution of Oceanography said that, as we have heat waves on land, we observe the same thing in the oceans as well. In the time period extending from 1982 until 2016 these marine heatwaves doubled. And, according to a study published on Wednesday, these events will occur more and more often as the planet continues to heat up.
You might wonder about the effects. Well, by having prolonged periods of extreme, the oceans will lose coral reefs, kelp forests and the fish and other forms of marine life will start depleting. And, as Thomas Frolicher, climate scientist for the University of Bern, Switzerland, says, we will see this accelerated by climate change.
Even a little is too much
Another concerning factor is represented by the ocean’s slow cooling ability. Oceans absorb and retain heat on a higher rate than air so they take much longer to cool off. The marine animals and plants have evolved to survive and thrive within a fairly narrow range of temperatures as opposed to the animals and plants found on land.
Think about it, then. If you warm up the water by just a couple degrees, you end up disrupting a lot of animal and plant cycles. The free-swimming organism, like lobsters or bat rays will have to change their routines. Stationary organisms, however, have it worse. Kelp forests and coral reefs are really in danger because even a slight change in the water’s temperature can kill a lot of them.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.