Scientists warn that time is running out for the world’s oceans as Earth’s climate continues to warm. That means times up also for the marine life.
Experts have been calling for reductions in greenhouse gas emission immediately; this is the only way to prevent the imminent impact on marine ecosystems.
Researchers in a study for the future of the oceans compared the oceans fate under two scenarios, first one being if we carry on as usual and the second scenario if we drastically cut greenhouse emissions.
The study was based on experiments, field observations and computer simulations.
The results of their study showed that if we carry on and usual the impacts on the ocean, the marine life and the services they provide e.g. fisheries, will be enormous and irreversible by the year 2100.
The second scenario also did not look so desirable but better than the first one. If we cut the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) enough to prevent temperatures rising by more than 2C compared with pre-industrial levels, many marine ecosystems will still suffer.
“Impacts on key marine and coastal organisms, ecosystems, and services from anthropogenic (man-made) CO2 emissions are already detectable, and several will face high risk of impacts well before 2100, even with the stringent CO2 emissions scenario,” The international team led by Dr Jean-Pierre Gattuso, from the Laboratoire d’Oceanographie de Villefranche in France, wrote in the journal Science.
The journal Science stated, “These impacts are occurring across all latitudes and have become a global concern that spans the traditional north/south divide.”
If a new global climate agreement is made and it fails to minimize the impact on oceans, then the agreement will be incomplete and inadequate.
These findings are going to be presented in the upcoming 2015 United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris.
Tropical fisheries will face major losses by 2050 when the critical habitats such as coral reefs and mangroves face massive declines, and this is in under the scenario where immediate cuts to greenhouse emissions are made.
Initially Arctic fisheries will benefit from the warmer waters but as the scientists pointed out that this region was a ‘hot spot’ of ocean acidification, containing communities that was were highly reliant on the sea.