Too high temperatures have been the norm for the oceans since 2014. The fauna risks could be catastrophic.

Global warming is not a recent problem or something that there is no reason to worry about yet. Two Californian researchers who are investigating the causes behind the death of kelp forests have come to show that the extreme heat in the oceans reached the point of no return as early as 2014.

Kisei Tanaka and Kyle Van Houtan, ecologists, have chosen as a term of comparison the highest temperature recorded between 1870 and 1919 in the surface layer of the oceans. Then they looked at the period 1920-2019 and found that, in 2014, more than 50 percent of monthly records exceeded the benchmark.

Furthermore, in subsequent years, that percentage has never dropped. This is why they identified 2014 as a “point of no return”. South Atlantic warming even became irreversible in 1998.

The study results also reveal that 57 percent of the world’s seas suffered from extreme heat in 2019. «We have shown that the phenomenon of climate change is not something uncertain, which could occur in the distant future. It is a historical fact. And it has already happened», explains Van Houtan. «We can see it everywhere, even in the ocean, the foundation of life on Earth».

The most endangered areas are the coasts of North America, the waters off Somalia and Indonesia, and the Norwegian Sea. «We should all care about the health of turtles, seabirds, and whales, but those who don’t think so can look at the economic side: lobsters and scallops, much sought after in the United States, live in the areas most at risk», continues Van Houtan.

The One ocean summit will be held in France from 9 to 11 February 2022, an event that is part of the schedule of conferences organized as part of the United Nations decade of ocean sciences for sustainable development.

The goal is to convince the heads of state to make concrete commitments to protect the health of the ocean. It is necessary to remember that alongside the protection of the forests, the protection of rivers, lakes, and seas cannot be missing.


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