alarming acceleration of warming and rising ocean levels: falling oxygen levels in the oceans, causing coastal species to suffocate


Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, warned in a report against the alarming acceleration of warming and rising ocean levels, which “shows that climate change is having an increasingly strong impact on the state of the ocean. Temperature, acidification, sea level: all the signals are red.” She called on member states to invest in the restoration of marine forests and to better regulate marine protected areas which are essential reservoirs of biodiversity.

This UNESCO State of the Ocean 2024 report, to which more than 100 scientists from nearly 30 countries contributed, highlights alarming new data on the threats facing the oceans.

It provides evidence-based analysis of the challenges facing us, including ocean warming, sea level rise, pollution, acidification, deoxygenation, blue carbon and biodiversity loss.

According to the report, the rate of ocean warming has doubled in 20 years, noting that 2023 will see one of the largest increases seen since the 1950s.

While the Paris Agreement aimed to keep global warming below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, ocean temperatures have already increased by 1.45°C on average, and are well above 2°C In “hot spots” such as the Mediterranean Sea, the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Ocean, one of the dramatic consequences of this warming is the rise in sea levels on a global scale.

Warming ocean temperatures are now responsible for 40% of global sea level rise, the rate of which has doubled over the past 30 years to reach 9 cm currently.

Another consequence of these phenomena is the drop in oxygen levels in the oceans, which causes the suffocation of coastal species, warns UNESCO, adding that the increase in acidity also raises serious concerns.

Since the pre-industrial era, the report recalls, the acidity of the oceans has increased by 30%, a rate which will reach 170% by 2100.

In this context, UNESCO highlights the importance of marine forests, including mangroves, seagrass beds and tidal marshes which can absorb up to five times more carbon than terrestrial forests, revealing that almost 60% of countries still do not include the restoration and conservation of marine forests in their Nationally Determined Contribution Plans, knowing that these forests constitute vital havens for biodiversity and represent one of the best defenses against climate change.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button