Impact of climate change on marine ecosystem

Climate change is the most hotly-debated issue in the current era owing to its innumerable adverse consequences. It is a universally acknowledged fact that climate change has emerged as a looming threat to the globe by posing manifold repercussions on humans as well as on animals. Specifically, the impact of climate change on the biodiversity of marine ecosystems is a problem of concern. Nevertheless, the term climate change demonstrates long-term changes in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts can be natural before the 1800s.


Impact of climate change on marine ecosystem
Impact of climate change on marine ecosystem


Unfortunately, in the wake of the industrial revolution, human activities have been the leading driver of this catastrophic issue in the world. Primarily, this problem is owing to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas which yield heat-trapping vapors. Undeniably, Marine life and sea beings are the plants, animals, and other organisms that live in the salty water of the sea or ocean. At a basic level, marine life affects the nature of the planet. Moreover, the ocean is experiencing innumerable consequences that are devastating the fisheries' production and reproduction.


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Nevertheless, there is broadening concern over the impacts of climate change on fisheries production and the region of marine ecosystems. Climate change is abundant pressure on top of the numerous, fishing mortality, loss of abode, abject pollution, and disruption that fish merchandise already suffered.



According to the reports of the United Nations of Organization, the ocean has long experienced the brunt of the consequences of human-made global warming. Furthermore, the earth's enormous carbon sink, the ocean absorbs additional heat and energy emitted from soaring greenhouse gas emissions like CO2 trapped in the Earth’s system. Sadly, the ocean has absorbed about 90 percent of the heat yielded by growing emissions in recent times. Hence, significant steps are mandated on the national as well as the international levels to combat the effects of climate change to preserve the life of the marine ecosystem.


Effects of Climate Change on Marine Ecosystems:

Marine fishes, seabirds, and marine mammals like blue whales and dolphins, all confront formidable challenges from expanding temperatures, including high mortalities, damage to breeding lands, and mass activities as species look for favorable environmental conditions and ailments. In addition to this, coral reefs are also implicated by intensifying temperatures which lead to coral bleaching and, further, increase their danger of mortality.



As the exorbitant heat and energy heat up the ocean, the alteration in temperature leads to unparalleled inundating effects.


ICE MELTING AND MARINE LIFE:

Undoubtedly, there is a massive repercussion of ice and glacier melting on marine life. These glacier melting leads to surging sea levels, which in turn expands coastal erosion as well as elevates storm spurts as, no doubt, warming air and ocean temperatures generate more persistent and severe coastal storms such as hurricanes and cyclones. Reasonably, the burning of fossil fuels, oil and gas drilling, and burgeoning deforestation, leading to rising temperatures, are the key elements in augmenting this problematic issue. It is a reality that animals of the ice surely need sea ice to survive and maintain their habitat. Sadly, there is a massive impact on ice animals. Many feel a disturbance in the food and habitat pattern in their lives.


Read Also: Glacier Lake outburst flooding (GLOF)

SEA-LEVEL RISE AND MARINE HABITATS:

Sea levels, globally, are soaring at an increasing rate as temperatures warm because of climate change. Nonetheless, sea-level growth has intensified in recent decades owing to bolstering ice loss in the world’s polar areas. The recent data from the World Meteorological Organization illustrates that the global average sea level surpassed a new record high in 2021, causing a rise of an average of millimeters a year over the period from 2013 to 2021. Along with intensifying tropical cyclones, sea-level rise has exacerbated extreme events such as deadly storm surges and coastal hazards such as flooding, widespread erosion, and landslides, which are greatly impacting the food, lives, support, and habitat of marine life.



Moreover, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that various regions including the western Tropical Pacific, the South-west Pacific, the North Pacific, the South-west Indian Ocean, and the South Atlantic are coping with the accordingly faster sea-level surges. Hence, it is clear that sea-level rise plays a responsible role in deteriorating the lives of aquatic habitats.


MARINE HEATWAVES AND MARINE ECOSYSTEM:

No doubt, marine heatwaves are increasing gallantly in frequency and are considered durable, more drastic, and extensive for marine biodiversity. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) reports that human impacts have been the fundamental driver of the oceanic heat-up observed over the decades. Furthermore, the prevalence of heatwaves brought between 2006 and 2015, led to extensive coral bleaching and reef degradation. It would not be an exaggeration to demonstrate that nearly 60 percent of the world’s ocean surface has undergone at least one spell of marine heat waves in 2021.



Also, the UN Environment Program asserts there is a persistent threat to the world’s coral reefs that could fade by the end of the century if the water keeps going to warm. Moreover, MHWs put unfavorable repercussions on marine ecosystems. It has been correlated with the mass destruction of marine invertebrates like fish, dolphins, and blue whales. It may impel species to improve the manner in a way that puts wildlife at expanded risk of havoc. MHWs have been bound with whales tangled in fishing gear. According to the research, there was an increase in 50℅ enhancements in the past 10 years through degrading the marine species and animals.


LOSS OF MARINE BIODIVERSITY:

Unfortunately, rising temperatures boost the risk of irreversible loss and casualties of marine and coastal ecosystems. At the current time, widespread changes have been identified. Firstly, it plays a responsible role in damaging coral reefs and mangroves that promote ocean life. Furthermore, the migration of species to higher latitudes and altitudes where the water could be cooler.



The latest conclusions are drawn from the UN, Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization warn and instruct that more than half of the world’s marine species may stand on the brink of demise by 2100. However, at a 1.1°C increase in temperature today, approximately60 cent of the global marine ecosystems have already been tarnished or are being utilized unsustainably. Similarly, the Warming of 1.5°C endangers the elimination of 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs, and a 2°C increase means an almost 100 percent loss - a point of no return. Climate change’s repercussions on the ocean are confronting the future of numerous marine species.


For instance, the bleaching of coral reefs depicts the devastation of crucial habitats for approximately more than 4,000 species of fish. Also, Marine animals depend on coral reefs; they are a good source of spawning, nursery, feeding, and breeding realms for many species. Unfortunately, however, if we fail to preserve the survival of reefs, there is a severe risk of a domino impact across the ecosystem.


OCEAN ACIDIFICATION AND MARINE BIODIVERSITY:

Furthermore, persisting ocean acidification is one of the major impacts of climate change that destroys aquatic life. Regardless, It’s realistic for the ocean to immerse carbon. it is a fact that the ocean stores 60 times more carbon than the environment. But, the emission of massive amounts of carbon into the environment, due to man-made activities can not be maintained in its natural form. Resultantly, the oceans are turning increasingly acidic.



Ocean acidification arises when there’s an extremely high percentage of carbon in the water, affecting the pH of the ocean to decline. An additional acidic ocean demonstrates slightly calcium carbonate, a mineral that coral and shellfish have a dire need to grow healthy reefs and shells. Additionally, Oysters and other shellfish are at threat of development problems and adults have thinner shells that are at incredible risk of breaking and crashing. Hence, it can be illustrated that there are innumerable impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems.



n a nutshell, the destruction of marine life can be demonstrated by the adverse consequences of climate change. Thousands of aquatic species are confronting the formidable challenges of climate change through the loss of habitat, food, survival, and ecosystem. Importantly, it is widely known to the universe that it is a daunting threat to human lives as well as marine life. As a result, various actions have been taken seriously through the developed and underdeveloped states but there are still a lot of strict steps on the national, international, individual, and collective levels. On a national level, the government has the most considerable power in fighting climate change by authorizing policy that leads toward a low-carbon future and remedying various devastations that have already been experienced. On the International level, new research reveals that to preserve marine life, boost food supplies and curtail CO2 emissions we must save approximately 30% of the ocean.