The ocean has long taken the brunt of the impacts of human-made global warming, says UN Climate Change. As the planet’s greatest carbon sink, the ocean absorbs excess heat and energy released from rising greenhouse gas emissions trapped in the Earth’s system. Today, the ocean has absorbed about 90 percent of the heat generated by rising emissions.
As the excessive heat and energy warms the ocean, the change in temperature leads to unparalleled cascading effects, including ice-melting, sea-level rise, marine heatwaves, and ocean acidification.
These changes ultimately cause a lasting impact on marine biodiversity, and the lives and livelihoods of coastal communities and beyond - including around 680 million people living in low-lying coastal areas, almost 2 billion who live in half of the world’s megacities that are coastal, nearly half of the world’s population (3.3 billion) that depends on fish for protein, and almost 60 million people who work in fisheries and the aquaculture sector worldwide.
Here are some of the major consequences of the impacts of climate change on the ocean.