How do oceans affect climate? How does climate affect oceans and the global economy?

Luc Williams

The oceans help the Earth's atmosphere in regulating the temperature. They are like huge air conditioners: they absorb and accumulate more and more heat from the atmosphere, and this, like a chain reaction, translates into weather situation. Weather phenomena called El Niño and La Niña. The first brings high temperatures and drought in Europe, Central and Eastern Asia and Australia.La Niña causes intense rains and floods in Europe, violent monsoons in India and heavy rainfall in Australia.

Melting of glaciers

Last year, the Atlantic reached its highest temperature ever recorded. Its heated waters, carried along the Gulf Stream (Golfstrom), reaching Arcticcause melting of glaciersand the masses of fresh water released in this way lower the ocean's salinity and slow down ocean currents and raise sea levels. In the years 1993-2023 on average sea ​​and ocean levels increased by 9.8 centimeters. This is expected even in a violent scenario reducing greenhouse gas emissions sea ​​and ocean levels will rise by as much as 38 centimeters by 2100. According to scientists, the level water in the Baltic Sea in the vicinity Gdańsk will rise by 75 cm, and in Stockholm by 19 cm.

Coral reefs

Another issue is degradation of marine habitatsincluding coral reefswhich leads to loss biodiversity. Global temperatures would only need to rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius “to destroy 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs,” the report says State of the Oceans 2024 prepared by experts from and the German Ocean Foundation.

In April 2024, scientists observed fourth global coral bleaching. Despite covering less than one percent of the seafloor, coral reefs provide shelter for more than 25 percent of marine species. Warming caused climate changeoverfishing, unsustainable development of coastal areas and deteriorating water quality influence the life of these important ecosystems. As described in the report, coral reefs can recover from bleaching. However, “the increasing frequency of these events makes it difficult for coral colonies to recover properly, ultimately causing the collapse of reef structure.”

Reducing CO2 emissions

Corals, like mussels, need calcium carbonate to build their external skeletons. Unfortunately, this substance is more and more often bound in water by being dissolved in it carbon dioxide, which creates carbonic acid, the same as that known from highly mineralized water purchased in bottles. This is because the oceans act as powerful oceans CO2 sequesters (storages)., capable of capturing much more of it than plants on land. Estimated economic value absorption of carbon dioxide emissions across oceans is $4.3 billion.

Economic importance

Seas and oceans are a very important source global economic production. Sea fishingcoral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves brought $6.9 trillion in revenue to the global economy in 2020 alone. In 2023 alone seafood market was worth $81.2 billion. Revenue maritime trade and maritime transport sector worldwide in 2020 amounted to USD 5.2 trillion.

But seas and oceans also have a dimension that, beyond tourism and recreation, it is difficult to convert into money. The possibility of contact with the element of open water improves well-being and has a positive effect on health. Nautical motifs they accompany people in the aesthetic and spiritual sphere. Pieceand especially painting Whether fashion, they take full advantage of what free contact with the seas and oceans gives us.


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