Coastal communities should be on alert – Temperatures in the world’s oceans have continued to increase unabated, making 2021 the hottest year on record
As per the study, oceans have been experiencing an unambiguous increase in heat. The ocean absorbs most of the excess heat from greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas), resulting in rising ocean temperatures. Compared to air temperature, ocean heat is a stronger indicator of climate change.
The higher-than-expected amount of heat in the oceans means that more heat is being retained within Earth’s climate system each year rather than escaping into space. In other words, increasing heat in the oceans indicates that global warming is progressing.
Impact of ocean warming:
- As the ocean warms, it expands and lifts sea level. It will affect airport and residential areas that are quite close to the present coastline.
- More powerful storms and hurricanes; increased precipitation and flood risks leading to loss of life and property.
- Effects on marine life because less oxygen penetrates to depth, affecting organisms.
- Flooding forces people to flee to higher ground, resulting in a global refugee crisis.
- Furthermore, as a result of ocean warming, many fish species have migrated to the poles, disrupting fisheries all over the world.
- Carbon dioxide absorption causes an increase in ocean acidification. Many ocean species are being harmed due to this, e.g. Corals. It, in turn, will have an impact on the millions of species that have made corals their home.
What needs to be done?
- Reach net-zero carbon emissions at the earliest.
- We must meet the Paris Agreement’s mitigation targets.
- As a mitigation strategy, many coastal cities have planned to relocate.
- Engineering designs and building codes to be modified in coastal communities.