JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tuesday is World Oceans Day and, hopefully, you will spend some time enjoying a swim at the beach or a relaxing day fishing.
The ocean sustains human life on many levels. Beyond supporting jobs and economies, it moderates the climate to ensure our survival.
MORE ONLINE: WorldOceanDay.org
But human activities are also impacting the ocean on many levels. Warming global air temperature in response to man-made carbon dioxide is trapping heat around the planet.
The carbon is not just in the air, 90% of the CO2 is going into the ocean. Ocean heat accumulation is fueling stronger hurricanes and affects marine ecosystems. Record ocean temperatures in 2016, devastated the great barrier reef resulting in coral bleaching with ⅔ of the reef dead.
Warmer temps increase disease in fish and dolphins. The change also shifts the distribution of marine organisms. Plankton is shifting farther north in latitude and people who depend on fish may find resources becoming more scarce as the food chain breaks down.
Warmer water holds less oxygen. For example, each 1.8 F increase drops dissolved oxygen in the ocean by 2%. The areas of decreased oxygen or dead zones caused fish die-offs. These have doubled since the 1960s.