Climate change has been an ongoing issue for several decades now, yet there seems to be little improvement and far worse consequences than we could have ever imagined. Aside from the devastating impacts global warming has had on our atmosphere, it has also threatened wildlife that rely on certain habitats and prey for survival. The most crucial changes that have occured are regarding the ocean. Ocean warming specifically has impacted marine environments and ice in the arctic that many animals rely on for breeding and raising their young. This has subsequently transformed the food chain.
A recent study at Princeton University gives a “specific timeframe for when ocean changes will occur” as a result of atmospheric carbon dioxide due to human activity. The ocean has helped slow global warming because of its ability to absorb heat and carbon from the atmosphere, but we can now see the harmful effects from this, namely ocean warming, and how it will continue to increase in the future. The warming of the oceans has a major impact on the food chain because it causes species to either die out, look for more favorable environments, or look for another food source. Through this recent study, scientists were able to isolate the direct impacts of global warming on the oceans from the more natural changes. Scientists used the Earth System Model which has an interactive carbon cycle to see changes that are likely to occur in the future if ocean warming is not prioritized right now.
However, these predicted changes in the oceans have already been affecting marine life starting from the smallest organisms to gray whales. All of these species are a part of the food chain and suffer as a result of changes in the ocean. When the ocean temperatures rise, the population of smaller prey decline and larger predators must search North for alternate food sources. It also causes the amount of arctic ice to become sparser, which affects the population of animals that use the ice to breed and raise their young, as seals do, or use as a tactic for hunting, as polar bears do. The higher the ocean temperature rises, the more difficult it is for many species to survive. It is also important to note that rising ocean temperatures affect our atmosphere. As permafrost melts, it releases the 1,600 billion tonnes of carbon frozen within it. Similar to the food chain, global warming affects us all, and it is our duty to take action now. U.N. representatives stated that “if we act now, we can reduce carbon emissions within 12 years,” a goal we should all be striving for.