Marine Life is Under Threat as Ocean Surface Climates May Disappear by 2100, Study

The rapidly changing climate and rising temperatures have surely threatened all the living beings on the planet. According to a recent research, marine life is under severe threat as up to 95 percent of earth’s ocean surface climates may disappear by 2100 unless humankind eliminates its carbon emissions.

Ocean surface climates, defined by surface water temperatures, acidity and the concentration of the mineral aragonite – which helps many marine animals in bone and shell formation, support the vast majority of sea life.

The oceans have been absorbing about a third of all the carbon emissions generated since the Industrial Revolution. However, with atmospheric carbon levels increasing at an unprecedented rate in at least three million years, scientists fear that ocean surface climates may become less hospitable to marine species.

Published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, the study emphasized on the effects carbon pollution has already had on ocean surface since the pre-industrial era and also the projected impact of emissions throughout the current century.

Marine Life under Threat as Ocean Surface Climates May Disappear by 2100, Study

Image: Natural World Safaris

Lead study author Katie Lotterhos, from Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center, said;

Species that are narrowly adapted to a climate that is disappearing will have to adapt to different conditions. Already, many marine species have shifted their ranges in response to warmer waters. The communities of species that are found in one area will continue to shift and change rapidly over the coming decades. Without (emissions) mitigation, novel and disappearing climates in the sea surface will be widespread around the globe by 2100.

The researchers modelled global ocean climates across three time periods: the early 19th century, the late 20th century and the late 21st century. Afterwards, they ran the models through two emissions scenarios to analyze the impact of emissions on the oceanic climates.

The first – known as RCP4.5 – features a peak in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 followed by a slow decline across the rest of the century; whereas the second case – RCP8.5 – envisions a “business as usual” approach, where emissions continue to exacerbate throughout the 21st century.

It was revealed that under the RCP4.5 scenario, 36 percent of the ocean surface conditions that were present throughout the 20th century are likely to disappear by the end of this century. On the other hand, that figure will rise to 95 percent under the high emissions scenario.

According to the study, the ocean surface climates exhibited some signs of change during the 20th century, however by the end of the current century, nearly 82 percent of ocean surface may experience unprecedented climates in the recent history.

These severe changes will see seas that are hotter, more acidic and that contain fewer minerals vital for marine life to thrive. Unless humans stop their climate change-inducing actions, these changes are inevitable.

Via: Science Alert

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