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Oceans Warming Up

Those who persist in denying, because the temperature outside their doors this morning was nippy, that global warming is real would do well to look at a new report by the United Nations Environmental Programme entitled, The UNEP Large Marine Ecosystem Report: a Perspective on Changing Conditions in LMEs of the World’s Regional Seas. The report shares measurements of ocean temperatures that demonstrate that in 61 out of the Earth’s 64 large marine ecosystems, water temperatures have increased significantly over the last quarter century.

Those increases in water temperature have been associated in large shifts in fisheries production, an increase in the number and extent of harmful algal blooms, and a surge in dead zones.

The UNEP does not yet have the report online, but it has been posted online by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which also provides a means for investigating climatic and ecological shifts in particular ecosystems reviewed in the report.

6 comments to Oceans Warming Up

  • Anonymous

    Just curious, how do we know this is not a normal cycle? No body argues that global climate has changed over the history of Earth. In fact, those that believe in evolution and a 4.55 billion year old Earth, would say that the Earth has had several ages of ice and several ages of heat. How do we know that this is not another cycle? How do we know that trying to stop this would be stopping nature itself, and may infact be unstoppable? Just curious what your thoughts are on this

  • Tom

    Scientific (ie. based on measurable data) has shown that the increase in temperature is largely due to man-made green-house gas pollution, with other factors contributing.

    People always want to shy away from (ignore) things that are complicated and especially things that require changes in our way of living (like driving millions of polluting vehicles each day, using fossil fuels to make electricity and to raise food crops). Businesses don’t like added costs or anything that will impact their profits, so they lobby the government to stall, by-pass, or create loopholes in any legislation regarding climate change.

    The problem is that after a while it’s too late to do anything about it and the warming earth begins to produce far more green-house gas as a result of melting tundra, perma-frost areas, peat bogs, and methane from warming lakes (for example) that can’t be stopped and cause the conditions (too dry areas and too wet areas, stronger storms and higher sea levels due to melting glaciers and ice sheets) to become worse.

    It’s not only prudent but NECESSARY that we err on the side of caution and begin changing things now, before it’s too late to impact this scenario. Nothing has been done for so long (warnings of this type have been going on since the 1970’s at least) that it’s critical that we act immediately. There is a CO2 level in the atmosphere beyond which it won’t matter what we do (that those feedback loops begin). We’re rapidly approaching those levels.

    The problem becomes exacerbated by the fact that unintended consequences result from all this warming: disease, insects, tree-growth, the ability of animals and plants to adapt, weather patterns and growing seasons, salinity and acidification of the oceans, thermohaline circulation (the system of which the Gulf Stream is part), erratic weather, sea-level rise, and others that we haven’t thought of but will become apparent as this goes on.

  • Tom

    After the word scientific (above) should be the word EVIDENCE, sorry.

  • Mark

    The Earth has indeed gone through dramatic changes in climate over the course of the last several hundred million years. What most people who would deny that human activities are causing the current change in climate fail to understand is that it’s not so much the magnitude of the changes that are happening, but it’s the RATE at which they are occurring that is without precedent. The changes we have observed in the past hundred years normally take thousands of years in natural climatic cycles. The great rate of change the Earth is currently experiencing is too rapid for many species to adapt to by normal evolutionary mechanisms. Hence the high rate of species extinctions we are observing around the world.

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