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Climate oceans suffocated  the world according to whatsorb | Upload General

Oceans Suffocated: The World According To WhatsOrb

by: Sharai Hoekema
oceans suffocated  the world according to whatsorb | Upload

Just as quickly as we once rose to civilization, we now find ourselves breaking it down at a similarly impressive pace. All around the world, scientists agree on one thing; that we are well underway to destroying this place that we call home.

The World According To WhatsOrb: Chapter Three

The second (Climate Cascade) and third chapters discuss the current state of affairs, including climate change and our dying oceans. These will not be for the faint of heart, as they will highlight the inexcusable predatory behavior as displayed by humanity.

Oceans Suffocated: Oceans At The Tipping Point

There has been much talk about the Earth’s tipping point, mostly referring to the critical limits for global warming and the rise in sea level. We should add a third limit to this. The state of our oceans is quite disastrous and detrimental. We are killing the one thing that has kept climate change from escalating. 

beach, plastic, branches, palmtrees, ocean
Photo by Dustan Woodhouse

Estimates claim that our oceans are responsible for having absorbed 90% of the heat as generated by global warming. Simultaneously, they have absorbed at least 30% of carbon out of the atmosphere, effectively preventing us from the worst effects of climate change. 

Recommended: Our Focus On CO2 Alone: Other Climate Culprits

This hasn’t been easy. The oceans have been damaged by these heroics, the extent of which is just now becoming visible. Coral reefs have been destroyed, acidity levels are going through the roof and numerous marine animals have been forced out of their habitats. The latter has altered the food chain in many regions, causing even more habitat changes and troubles for those who depend on them - including people living in marine areas.

While the oceans have had their hands full in dealing with all of this, we have not made it any easier on them. By suffocating the oceans with plastic, for instance. To highlight the absurdity of our plastic issue: estimates claim that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the oceans. Add to this our persistent overfishing issues, alongside pollution being fed right into it. It is not hard to see why the oceans are slowly giving up the fight.

Nutrient Run-Off Triggers Dead Zones In Oceans

So-called ‘dead zones’ are a concept that was unheard of in history until quite recently. Since the 1960s, each passing decade led to a doubling of the amount of those life-ridden areas. A recent study proved the existence of at least 400 dead zones around the world. All nutrients have been drained from those areas, having traveled downstream into other bodies of water.

In the Arabian Sea, the largest dead zone found thus far is measuring at about 64,000 square miles - pretty much the same size as the entire Gulf of Oman nearby. Another huge patch of dead nothingness can be found in the Gulf of Mexico, adding up to roughly 6,000 square miles.

These continue to grow - and more of them are popping up as we speak. Each year, numerous new dead zones are added to the world’s growing list of problems. And we are the only ones to blame for it. A dead zone does not contain any healthy microbes and bacteria. Effectively, we have been killing the one microbe that is keeping our oceans healthy: phytoplankton. These tiny, microscopic algae really like sunlight. They function like plants, absorbing sunlight and carbon dioxide, and getting more oxygen in the oceans. This is what makes them so important.

areal island, sea, phytoplankton

Photo by USGS. Massive congregations of greenish phytoplankton swirl in the dark water around Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. Phytoplankton is microscopic marine plants that form the first link in nearly all ocean food chains. Population explosions, or blooms, of phytoplankton, like the one shown here, occur when deep currents bring nutrients up to sunlit surface waters, fueling the growth and reproduction of these tiny plants.

Unfortunately, there has been a steady decline in the amount of phytoplankton in our oceans. Actually, it is not just the amount of phytoplankton, it is also the productivity of the existing phytoplankton. The decline in both the amount of phytoplankton and their productivity correlates with the rising temperatures on Earth. No surprise there. 

Ocean’s Phytoplankton Cascading Effects

The surprise does, however, lie hidden in the effect that this decline of phytoplankton will have on the world’s food chain. This effect will become noticeable soon enough, as it does not appear to be just global warming that is killing the phytoplankton. Research has shown a weakening in the important ocean circulation pattern known as the AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation). This circulation has been key in the exchange of nutrients that form the basis of the phytoplankton’s diet.

House, sea, icebergs
Photo by Marjorie Teo. The beautiful town of Ilulissat Greenland.

With the weakening AMOC, for reasons that scientists do not yet fully understand, phytoplankton is struggling to survive. The water is getting warmer while more freshwater is flowing in through the melting of Greenland’s ice. This water has a lower density and will prevent nutrients from coming up to the surface - effectively trapping them in a lower ‘layer’. Phytoplankton is now not only living in a less friendly environment, but global warming is also starving it of its much-needed food supplies.

Recommended: Breaking: Did You Know, All You Read About CO2 Rise Is Half The Truth

Marine Life Suffocates Without Oxygen

It is not just the phytoplankton that is starving. Marine life is suffering equally, both from a lack of appropriate food sources as smaller fish are migrating as their food supplies run dry; and from a lack of oxygen in the water, as phytoplankton has increasingly greater issues in generating it. 

The science is simple: as soon as the water holds less than two parts per million of oxygen, this is considered to be a low-oxygen environment. All mobile animals - including crabs, fish, and snails - will find a new habitat with better living conditions. As they migrate away, larger fish will have trouble finding food. 

Recommended: Climate Change Stop, Store CO2, Add Phytoplankton By Whales?

The immobile animals, on the other hand, could suffocate. This includes reefs and non or slow-moving fish and sea critters. Other animals living near those low-oxygen zones will experience some unexpected by-effects that you may, with some creative freedom, attribute to evolution. What to think about female Atlantic croaker fish, who suddenly found themselves equipped with reproductive organs more resembling testes instead of ovaries? Or shrimp who cannot grow out of infancy in size? Effects that are sure to mess up the entire balance in the oceans.

Ocean Dead Zones! Can We Forecast Them?

While disaster movies are keen on showcasing dead zones as areas that suddenly appear, out of the blue, there might be a way of predicting where they will pop up next. Scientists managed to predict a dead zone after a period of intense rain in the Mississippi River watershed. This led to a great number of nutrients flowing away as they washed into the Gulf of Mexico in a short period of time. It left a large area virtually devoid of nutrients and oxygen.

Currently, certain areas that are important for their surrounding environments - including the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes in the United States - are being monitored carefully for their temperature and oxygen levels, the two most significant markers for a dead zone. If those water bodies would ‘die’, the entire surrounding community will suffer.

Overfishing In Oceans Worldwide

Another big problem for our oceans is chronic overfishing. We want more from our oceans than they can provide us, and instead of changing our wants, we are trying to adapt to the can't. A dangerous strategy. Thankfully, more and more countries are becoming aware of the dangers, with over 120 of them adopting a resolution meant to cut down on this so-called bycatch.

Seafood companies, on the other hand, are definitely not as willing to give in. They claim that it will increase their costs to a great extent. Such a great extent that they are not about to cut back on the fishing practice using extraordinary large nets. These allow them to catch the required amount of fish in a short amount of time - with a great amount of bycatch as the unfortunate result, where unwanted animals wind up in the nets.

stacks, crab traps
Photo by Meritt Thomas. Stacks of worn crab traps await fishing season in Bodega Bay.

All around the world, estimates have put this bycatch at between 20 to 25% of all fish caught. While these are usually thrown overboard, most of them do not survive the trauma. This is not all for the fishing industry. They also largely discard items like nets, hooks, and lines in the ocean. Approximately 300,000 small whales, dolphins, and porpoises get stuck in those materials each year. Once again, they usually die.

It is not just fish suffering from the effects of overfishing. Birds do, too, as they routinely get caught in nets. This has led to the near-extinction of many albatross species. 

Ocean’s Plastic Pollution

If all of those species living in the ocean are not being killed by overfishing or leftover fishing materials, it will be our leftover plastic that does the trick. Billions and billions of kilos of plastic are swirling around our oceans in perfect convergences, that already cover some 40% of the entire world's ocean surface. We are quite literally surrounded by plastic.

wooden trunk, beach, plastic net, ocean
Photo by Gina Jie Sam Foek. Seroe Colorado, Aruba

All of this plastic is beyond dangerous to wildlife. They ingest plastic or get stuck in it. Either way, they die from the intrusion of this foreign material in their habitat. This foreign material is our responsibility. The single-use packaging world that we live in today is absolutely in love with plastics. For our drinks, our food wrapping, even our clothes. Over the past decade, more plastic has been produced than in all of history together. 

Recommended: Ocean Cleanup’s New Plastic-Catcher: Is It Working?

Even worse? The fossil fuel industry is looking to ramp up plastic production by another 40 percent over the next decade. And while creating more, every single piece of plastic ever created is still around. It doesn’t break down. At this rate, we seem to be determined to cover the entire surface of our oceans with plastic. And as there are still plenty of animals who are decidedly not keen on plastic, this will be a disaster waiting to happen. 

They ingest it, they get stuck in it - you name it. No good things have ever come from plastic in the ocean. While there are efforts underway to clean up our oceans, none of them are near the level required to make an actual dent.

COVID-19 Adds To The Ocean Pollution

The amount of trash piled up in our oceans is set to grow even more in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The personal protective equipment (PPE) that is set to keep our health professionals safe, including face masks and gloves, is on its way to our oceans as well. In recent months, masks have washed up ashore, in a completely new type of pollution. 

Some people are skeptical. How could a face mask end up in the ocean? Who would throw it in there? The real answer is that no one does. They do, however, throw them in the streets. When it rains, trash will be swept away and end up in rivers. These will, in turn, guide them to the sea - adding to the already enormous pile.

With the massive increase in use during the COVID-19 pandemic, including many countries battling for scarce supplies and others fighting to create more, there should be a clear red flag pointing towards a potential environment danger. 

The State Of Our Oceans Conclusion

We should not think lightly of any of this. The oceans are what make our Earth habitable. They are literally our lifeblood. And as we wear face masks to keep our bodies healthy, we ought to do the same for our oceans. Let’s start a movement where we keep plastic out of our oceans for good, just like we are now fighting to keep COVID-19 out of our bodies.

The oceans are home to a wealth of animals, fish, and plants. They can only survive when we help them. They don’t necessarily need us. They just want us to keep their home clean. Let’s start with that.

Before you go!

Recommended: Earth Matters. Nature And Us: What Was, What’s Left: Hope?

Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below.
We try to respond the same day.

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Oceans Suffocated: The World According To WhatsOrb

Just as quickly as we once rose to civilization, we now find ourselves breaking it down at a similarly impressive pace. All around the world, scientists agree on one thing; that we are well underway to destroying this place that we call home. The World According To WhatsOrb: Chapter Three The second ( Climate Cascade )  and third chapters discuss the current state of affairs, including climate change and our dying oceans. These will not be for the faint of heart, as they will highlight the inexcusable predatory behavior as displayed by humanity. Oceans Suffocated: Oceans At The Tipping Point There has been much talk about the Earth’s tipping point, mostly referring to the critical limits for global warming and the rise in sea level. We should add a third limit to this. The state of our oceans is quite disastrous and detrimental. We are killing the one thing that has kept climate change from escalating.   Photo by Dustan Woodhouse Estimates claim that our oceans are responsible for having absorbed 90% of the heat as generated by global warming. Simultaneously, they have absorbed at least 30% of carbon out of the atmosphere, effectively preventing us from the worst effects of climate change.   Recommended:  Our Focus On CO2 Alone: Other Climate Culprits This hasn’t been easy. The oceans have been damaged by these heroics, the extent of which is just now becoming visible. Coral reefs have been destroyed, acidity levels are going through the roof and numerous marine animals have been forced out of their habitats. The latter has altered the food chain in many regions, causing even more habitat changes and troubles for those who depend on them - including people living in marine areas. While the oceans have had their hands full in dealing with all of this, we have not made it any easier on them. By suffocating the oceans with plastic, for instance. To highlight the absurdity of our plastic issue: estimates claim that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the oceans. Add to this our persistent overfishing issues, alongside pollution being fed right into it. It is not hard to see why the oceans are slowly giving up the fight. Nutrient Run-Off Triggers Dead Zones In Oceans So-called ‘dead zones’ are a concept that was unheard of in history until quite recently. Since the 1960s, each passing decade led to a doubling of the amount of those life-ridden areas. A recent study proved the existence of at least 400 dead zones around the world. All nutrients have been drained from those areas, having traveled downstream into other bodies of water. In the Arabian Sea, the largest dead zone found thus far is measuring at about 64,000 square miles - pretty much the same size as the entire Gulf of Oman nearby. Another huge patch of dead nothingness can be found in the Gulf of Mexico, adding up to roughly 6,000 square miles. These continue to grow - and more of them are popping up as we speak. Each year, numerous new dead zones are added to the world’s growing list of problems. And we are the only ones to blame for it. A dead zone does not contain any healthy microbes and bacteria. Effectively, we have been killing the one microbe that is keeping our oceans healthy: phytoplankton. These tiny, microscopic algae really like sunlight. They function like plants, absorbing sunlight and carbon dioxide, and getting more oxygen in the oceans. This is what makes them so important. Photo by USGS. M assive congregations of greenish phytoplankton swirl in the dark water around Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. Phytoplankton is microscopic marine plants that form the first link in nearly all ocean food chains. Population explosions, or blooms, of phytoplankton, like the one shown here, occur when deep currents bring nutrients up to sunlit surface waters, fueling the growth and reproduction of these tiny plants. Unfortunately, there has been a steady decline in the amount of phytoplankton in our oceans. Actually, it is not just the amount of phytoplankton, it is also the productivity of the existing phytoplankton. The decline in both the amount of phytoplankton and their productivity correlates with the rising temperatures on Earth. No surprise there.   Ocean’s Phytoplankton Cascading Effects The surprise does, however, lie hidden in the effect that this decline of phytoplankton will have on the world’s food chain. This effect will become noticeable soon enough, as it does not appear to be just global warming that is killing the phytoplankton. Research has shown a weakening in the important ocean circulation pattern known as the AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation). This circulation has been key in the exchange of nutrients that form the basis of the phytoplankton’s diet. Photo by Marjorie Teo. The beautiful town of Ilulissat Greenland. With the weakening AMOC, for reasons that scientists do not yet fully understand, phytoplankton is struggling to survive. The water is getting warmer while more freshwater is flowing in through the melting of Greenland’s ice. This water has a lower density and will prevent nutrients from coming up to the surface - effectively trapping them in a lower ‘layer’. Phytoplankton is now not only living in a less friendly environment, but global warming is also starving it of its much-needed food supplies. Recommended:  Breaking: Did You Know, All You Read About CO2 Rise Is Half The Truth Marine Life Suffocates Without Oxygen It is not just the phytoplankton that is starving. Marine life is suffering equally, both from a lack of appropriate food sources as smaller fish are migrating as their food supplies run dry; and from a lack of oxygen in the water, as phytoplankton has increasingly greater issues in generating it.   The science is simple: as soon as the water holds less than two parts per million of oxygen, this is considered to be a low-oxygen environment. All mobile animals - including crabs, fish, and snails - will find a new habitat with better living conditions. As they migrate away, larger fish will have trouble finding food.   Recommended:  Climate Change Stop, Store CO2, Add Phytoplankton By Whales? The immobile animals, on the other hand, could suffocate. This includes reefs and non or slow-moving fish and sea critters. Other animals living near those low-oxygen zones will experience some unexpected by-effects that you may, with some creative freedom, attribute to evolution. What to think about female Atlantic croaker fish, who suddenly found themselves equipped with reproductive organs more resembling testes instead of ovaries? Or shrimp who cannot grow out of infancy in size? Effects that are sure to mess up the entire balance in the oceans. Ocean Dead Zones! Can We Forecast Them? While disaster movies are keen on showcasing dead zones as areas that suddenly appear, out of the blue, there might be a way of predicting where they will pop up next. Scientists managed to predict a dead zone after a period of intense rain in the Mississippi River watershed. This led to a great number of nutrients flowing away as they washed into the Gulf of Mexico in a short period of time. It left a large area virtually devoid of nutrients and oxygen. Currently, certain areas that are important for their surrounding environments - including the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes in the United States - are being monitored carefully for their temperature and oxygen levels, the two most significant markers for a dead zone. If those water bodies would ‘die’, the entire surrounding community will suffer. Overfishing In Oceans Worldwide Another big problem for our oceans is chronic overfishing. We want more from our oceans than they can provide us, and instead of changing our wants, we are trying to adapt to the can't. A dangerous strategy. Thankfully, more and more countries are becoming aware of the dangers, with over 120 of them adopting a resolution meant to cut down on this so-called bycatch. Seafood companies, on the other hand, are definitely not as willing to give in. They claim that it will increase their costs to a great extent. Such a great extent that they are not about to cut back on the fishing practice using extraordinary large nets. These allow them to catch the required amount of fish in a short amount of time - with a great amount of bycatch as the unfortunate result, where unwanted animals wind up in the nets. Photo by Meritt Thomas. Stacks of worn crab traps await fishing season in Bodega Bay. All around the world, estimates have put this bycatch at between 20 to 25% of all fish caught. While these are usually thrown overboard, most of them do not survive the trauma. This is not all for the fishing industry. They also largely discard items like nets, hooks, and lines in the ocean. Approximately 300,000 small whales, dolphins, and porpoises get stuck in those materials each year. Once again, they usually die. It is not just fish suffering from the effects of overfishing. Birds do, too, as they routinely get caught in nets. This has led to the near-extinction of many albatross species.   Ocean’s Plastic Pollution If all of those species living in the ocean are not being killed by overfishing or leftover fishing materials, it will be our leftover plastic that does the trick. Billions and billions of kilos of plastic are swirling around our oceans in perfect convergences, that already cover some 40% of the entire world's ocean surface. We are quite literally surrounded by plastic. Photo by Gina Jie Sam Foek.  Seroe Colorado, Aruba All of this plastic is beyond dangerous to wildlife. They ingest plastic or get stuck in it. Either way, they die from the intrusion of this foreign material in their habitat. This foreign material is our responsibility. The single-use packaging world that we live in today is absolutely in love with plastics. For our drinks, our food wrapping, even our clothes. Over the past decade, more plastic has been produced than in all of history together.   Recommended:  Ocean Cleanup’s New Plastic-Catcher: Is It Working? Even worse? The fossil fuel industry is looking to ramp up plastic production by another 40 percent over the next decade. And while creating more, every single piece of plastic ever created is still around. It doesn’t break down. At this rate, we seem to be determined to cover the entire surface of our oceans with plastic. And as there are still plenty of animals who are decidedly not keen on plastic, this will be a disaster waiting to happen.   They ingest it, they get stuck in it - you name it. No good things have ever come from plastic in the ocean. While there are efforts underway to clean up our oceans, none of them are near the level required to make an actual dent. COVID-19 Adds To The Ocean Pollution The amount of trash piled up in our oceans is set to grow even more in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The personal protective equipment (PPE) that is set to keep our health professionals safe, including face masks and gloves, is on its way to our oceans as well. In recent months, masks have washed up ashore, in a completely new type of pollution.   Some people are skeptical. How could a face mask end up in the ocean? Who would throw it in there? The real answer is that no one does. They do, however, throw them in the streets. When it rains, trash will be swept away and end up in rivers. These will, in turn, guide them to the sea - adding to the already enormous pile. With the massive increase in use during the COVID-19 pandemic, including many countries battling for scarce supplies and others fighting to create more, there should be a clear red flag pointing towards a potential environment danger.   The State Of Our Oceans Conclusion We should not think lightly of any of this. The oceans are what make our Earth habitable. They are literally our lifeblood. And as we wear face masks to keep our bodies healthy, we ought to do the same for our oceans. Let’s start a movement where we keep plastic out of our oceans for good, just like we are now fighting to keep COVID-19 out of our bodies. The oceans are home to a wealth of animals, fish, and plants. They can only survive when we help them. They don’t necessarily need us. They just want us to keep their home clean. Let’s start with that. Before you go! Recommended:  Earth Matters. Nature And Us: What Was, What’s Left: Hope? Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your article about the effect of climate change in your neighborhood? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage' .
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