Posted by: Jill | July 14, 2009

Climate Change and the Oceans

During class this week, I sketched a little flowchart of how climate change is affecting the oceans.  I’m a visual thinker, and this helps me understand the various impacts that increased levels of atmospheric CO2 will have on the planet.

Flowchart: climate change and the oceans

“More CO2” is in a big black box on the left, because that is what’s driving all of these changes.  The two main problems with increasd CO2 are:

  1. ocean acidification (seawater gets more acidic)
  2. the greenhouse effect (Earth gets warmer)

Each of the connecting arrows denotes a cause and effect relationship and is supported by lots of ongoing scientific research.  On the right side of the chart, the italicized bits are outcomes that will affect our quality of life, though the magnitude of each effect will be different around the world (mostly, the impacts will be worse in places where people are already struggling).

I can further explain any of the components if you’d like, but basically: it doesn’t look good for fish or for people.

Hello, job security for a coral reef scientist?  Uh-oh.

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