Monday, 7 October 2013




October saw the publication of two significant reports concerning climate change, the warming of the oceans, the release of  greenhouse gases, the emission of  pollutants. 
The first report was the 5th. Assessment Report,  published by the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] . 
The second report was produced by IPSO, [the International Programme on the State of the Ocean].

Working Group 1 of the IPCC declared that there was clear evidence that the Earth climate system  is warming:
1. the oceans and the atmosphere have warmed;
2. amounts of snow and ice have decreased;
3. Sea level has risen;
4. greenhouse gases have increased;
5. heat waves have increased in Europe, Asia, Australia;
6. the troposphere has warmed since 1950 and become more disturbed by convection.

Their work revealed that ocean warming leads to increases in the energy stored in the climate system. The upper 75m of the oceans have risen in temperature, giving rise to greater evaporation, and increased salinity. Since 1971 the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass. Glaciers have shrunk. Arctic sea ice, and Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover decreased. Permafrost will reduce.

Ocean warming has resulted in glacier mass loss, and ocean thermal expansion.  Sea level has risen every year since 1850. Working Group 1 suggests that ocean warming will continue during the 21st Century and the heat will penetrate to deep ocean and effect the circulation, and initiate changes in the climate system.

The researches of the IPCC indicate that the atmospheric concentrations  of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels not seen for 800,000 years. What is more, the increases since 1750 are due to human activity. The continued emission of greenhouse gases are the result of industrial processes by humans.

IPSO declared that ocean degradation is greater and faster than previously thought.
IPCC noted that the global ocean is absorbing much of the warming as well as unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide.
IPSO reported that there are decreasing levels of oxygen in the ocean as the result of climate change; nitrogen run-off; chemical pollution; rampant over fishing.
IPSO found that the ocean is subject to
7. De-oxygenation - the result of increases in coastal hypoxia with eutrophication; that is, lack of oxygen with too much organic matter such as sewage
8. Acidification - due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide and the lack of calcification resulting in the extinction of coral, and loss of bio-diversity;

9. Warming - leading to reduced seasonal ice zones; disappearance of sea ice; increased venting of methane from the Arctic seabed; increased anoxic and hypoxic events :too little oxygen associated with pollution; stratification of the ocean and temperature zones; oxygen depletion;
10. Over fishing undermines the survival of key species. World fish populations are unsustainably exploited.

IPSO identified actions that must be taken if ocean degradation is to be controlled.
11. If  temperature rise is to be controlled, global carbon dioxide emissions must be limited and reduced to 350 ppm at least;
12. Fishing must be managed so as to control the catch. Small scale fisheries are to be implemented;

13. the UN should implement structures for the governance of the high seas. For example, seas like the Baltic Sea should  be kept clear and clean, and not  left to become increasingly polluted, filling up with sewage!

The IPSO report has categorically placed the state of the Ocean as a key factor in planning for the conservation of the natural environment.[].

Both reports have made it clear that while there are many factors in play in the climate system, human influence is paramount in generating green house gas emissions, and raising temperatures; as well as creating sewage pollution and depriving waters of oxygen and reducing biodiversity.

The researchers acknowledge that there are natural processes and cycles that contribute to changes in the climate system. But their effects are magnified by the consequences of  human activity across the globe. Any rises in temperature are increased by the emission of carbon dioxide. The degradation of the levels of oxygen in the oceans is exaggerated by the accumulation of sewage and bio-pollutants in river deltas, coastal zones, and inland waters.

The reports assert that the cycles of  rapid climate change are the result of human behaviour in the troposphere.

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