INDIA - Ocean warming, which is already affecting humans, fish stocks and crop yields while posing the threats of more extreme weather events and increased risk from water-borne diseases, may well turn out to be the greatest hidden challenge of our generation, cautions the recent IUCN report: Explaining Ocean Warming: Causes, Scale, Effects and Consequences. Basudev Mahapatra reports.
The impacts would be strongly felt in Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and farming as well as fishing communities would face severe livelihood threats.
Based on the observations of scientists, the report cites, “Subsurface (at 100 to 500m depth) build-up of heat over several years in the Pacific and Indian Oceans has profound implications for the future warming of the Earth.”
With warming of the ocean over the 21st Century, as indicated by several modelling projections, “El Niño events will double” in frequency and become more intense, highlights the report, which would affect the Indian and other Pacific Ocean monsoon systems.
Affecting ecosystems from polar to tropical regions, ocean warming is driving entire groups of species such as plankton, jellyfish, turtles and seabirds up to 10 degrees of latitude towards the poles, causing the loss of breeding grounds for turtles and seabirds, and affecting the breeding success of marine mammals.
By damaging fish habitats and causing fish species to move to cooler waters, it affects fish stocks in some areas and is expected to lead to reduced catches in tropical regions severely affecting lives of millions of fishing families and nutritional safety of several countries.
Highlighting the impacts of ocean warming on ocean ecosystems and the benefits they provide to humans, the report urges for strong and immediate measures to protect the ocean ecosystem and to minimise risks associated with warming oceans.
TheFishSite News Desk