There’s an important relationship between the atmosphere and our oceans, which is out of balance due to climate change pollution. As oceans warm, they lose their ability to absorb carbon dioxide, causing them to become “acidified.” As global temperatures rise, polar ice caps melt, which in turn raises sea levels. Both of these changes are causing coral reefs—which are critical to coastal protection, home to 25% of all marine life and provide sustenance to millions of species and humans—to actually dissolve.
The consequences of warmer ocean waters could be catastrophic for millions of ocean species who will be unable to adapt to higher temperatures. There will be a collapse of marine food chain, as many species will be unable find a livable habitat and not be able to survive. This will affect everything from plankton to polar bears, and ultimately humans, who are dependent on fish for survival.
Rising sea levels due to global warming pollution are a major threat to the economic livelihood, safety and health of the millions of people who inhabit coastal communities worldwide. The number of environmental refugees worldwide will continue to grow as coastal areas and islands are destroyed. The loss of Arctic and Antarctic ice does not bode well for birds or marine mammals, such as the endangered polar bear, whose hunting and breeding grounds will disappear.
Sea levels could rise between three to six feet this century if current warming trends continue. This will result in major coastal erosion and threaten the health, safety and economic viability of many coastal communities.
The island of Lohachara, home to some 10,000 people, disappeared beneath the surface of the Bay of Bengal in 2006. In 2007, one hundred residents of Tegua Island in the Pacific Ocean had to be evacuated due to rising sea levels.
Warming waters will mean a significant decline in cold-water fish, such as trout and salmon.
Arctic ice is rapidly disappearing which severely threatens polar bears who are dependent upon sea ice, hundreds of miles from land, to survive. Without help, polar bears could disappear from U.S. shores by 2050.
In the past four years, 10% of coral reefs have died and many more are threatened if waters continue to warm.
An expected 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit rise in global temperatures by the end of the century would mean as much as a six-foot rise in sea levels.