Unless you have been living under a rock, you have more than likely heard the term Global Warming at least once in the past few years. Grass roots activists and politicians have made it a relatively common conversation topic. The global warming movement has gained a great deal popularity lately, which is probably due to the fact that there is so much controversy surrounding the issue. There is currently a large divide between people who believe that global warming is a serious danger to our environment, and those who believe it is simply part of a cycle of hot and cold periods that have always occurred and pose no serious threat.
Effects of Global Warming on the Oceans
People who advocate reducing our impact on the environment, and thereby reducing the effects of global warming on the planet, cite several reasons to change our current behavior. Some of the more notable concerns come from scientists who have noted many changes in the Earths weather patterns, surface temperatures, and sea levels and temperatures. The changes in the worlds oceans have especially created serious causes for concern and have received a lot of attention from people who make this issue a priority.
Rising Sea Levels
As greenhouse gases trapped in the Earths atmosphere slowly increase the average temperature on our planet, scientists have noted a steady rise in sea levels. Professionals believe this rise in the melting of glaciers and ice caps as well as the ocean water expanding thermally is a result of the water temperature slowly increasing. The concern is that, over time, the sea levels could rise to such an extreme point that they could reclaim land that is currently above sea level, effectively changing the shape of the land masses we are currently familiar with.
Not only does rising water temperature contribute to the thermal expansion of water making it appear to have a larger volume, it also contributes to other environmental factors. The main concern of rising water temperature results from the increasing severity of the changing weather patterns, specifically those that originate in tropical areas. As the water heats up, no matter how seemingly small of an increase, the resulting change in the weather patterns can be seriously increase the severity of the weather. Weather services specifically warn that in the future hurricanes could be much worse than they have ever been in the past.
Effect on Sea Life
Marine creatures have spent millions of years adapting to steady changes in the oceans of this planet. In contrast, the temperature increases resulting from global warming are occurring at such a rapid pace the animal and plant life in the oceans cannot adapt quickly enough, thus calling into question their ability to survive this warming trend. A large concern is that many sea animals use minor changes in the temperature of the water to cue major life cycle patterns such as migration for the purpose of breeding. There is no telling what could be the result if these signals, that have been relied upon to ensure the survival of many different species, are permanently disrupted.