Ocean “Heatwaves’ Due To Ocean Warming Threatening Fishing: UN Report

Marine “heatwaves” are being caused and rise of sea levels is being accelerated threatening the coastal fishing based economies because of the alarming pace at which the surface temperature of the oceans of the world is rising due to global warming, warned a fresh report published by the United Nations.

The report said that heat waves in oceans takes place when the daily sea surface temperature surpasses that local 99th percentile of the temperature between 1982 and 2016.

“Marine heatwaves have doubled in frequency since 1982 and are increasing in intensity,” said the special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Since 1970, every year, there has been an increase in the surface temperatures of the oceans of the world and since 1993 the speed of increase in temperature has been more than doubled.  “Future shifts in fish distribution and decreases in their abundance and fisheries catch potential due to climate change are projected to affect income, livelihoods, and food security of marine resource-dependent communities,” the report said.

The rise in sea levels and its acceleration has also been caused by the melting of ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic regions. Such a change has consequently resulted in an increase in the frequency of extreme sea level events that are the cause of natural disasters such as extreme flooding in the tropical areas and emergence of more tropical cyclones.

Coastal communities, fishing economies are among some of the worst hit victims of this climate change and rise in sea levels resulting extreme sea level weather. Also badly hit are those communities residing in polar and high mountains regions.

The report predicts that some island nations would become uninhabitable because of rising sea levels. At present, about 680 million people live in the low-lying coastal zones across the world which is expected to increase to more than 1 billion by 2050, the report also noted. Also at threat are about 670 million people who currently reside in high mountain regions and such regions have become particularly vulnerable to melting of glaciers and ice sheets and increase in ocean temperatures.

There has also been a reduction in fish populations because of warming of the oceans. This event also aggravates the problem of over-fishing resulting in reduced fishery catches. This can ultimately lead to a threat of shortage of nutritional health and food security for those communities that are moistly dependent on seafood might as the only source of food all across he globe.

It is therefore very important that there be a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions because of human activities so that the oceans and its ecosystems are not only protected but are restored to their former positions, the UN report also said. It stressed on a greater consciousness among people, bodies, businesses and governments about better management and use of the available natural resources.

(Adapted from CNBC.com)

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