giant jellyfish off Japan
maybe connected to global warming
Global warming is causing ocean temperatures as well as air temperatures to rise. A 2005 report by a team headed by Tim Barett of Scripps Institution of Oceanography found that between 1955 and 2000, the oceans warmed by 0.7 degrees F. Because the oceans are so vast the energy needed to warm them even smalls amount is huge.

Sea temperature plays a critical role in the life of marine species and warming oceans are causing widespread and severe impacts. Globally, the average air temperature of the Earth’s surface has warmed by over 1 degree Celsius since reliable records began in 1850. Each decade since 1980 has been warmer than the last, with 2010–19 being around 0.2 degrees Celsius warmer than 2000–09. Sea surface temperatures are increasing too, as over 90 percent of the excess heat gained in the atmosphere from enhanced greenhouse warming is going directly into the oceans. [Source: Australian government]

Scientist have been surprised how even water at great depths is warming up. Water surface temperatures in the tropical Northern Hemisphere have increased at ten times the rate of global warming in the air since 1984. Increases of .5 degree to 1 degree F have occurred in the major hurricane and typhoon breeding areas in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans since 1906.

Carbon dioxide moves freely between the air and sea in a process known as molecular diffusion and tend to go where concentrations are the lowest. When carbon dioxide of levels are high in the air it flows into the sea. It is thought that carbon dioxide used moved from the seas to the air but now the situation is reserved and its flowing from the air to the seas. Some people have proposed pumping excess carbon dioxide into the deep sea but these plans were dropped when it was discovered that large doses of carbon dioxide kill marine life immediately

A number of Earth-orbiting satellites routinely provides updates on sea surface temperatures, sea level changes and ocean winds. Some have asked is it possible for heat from inside the Earth to heat up the seas, If that was happening the seas would heat up from the bottom up. There is no indication that that is happening. Most of the warming occurs at the surface.

Environmental Impact of Hotter Oceans

According to research by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado warmer ocean waters are helping to increase the intensity of storms, hurricanes and extreme rainfall, which in turn are exacerbating the risks of severe flooding. Heated ocean water expands and erodes the vast Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which are collectively discourging around 1trillion tons of ice a year, which in turn fuels sea level rises. [Source: Oliver Milman, The Guardian, January 11, 2022]

When oceans absorb carbon dioxide they become more acidic. This degrades coral reefs, home to a quarter of the world’s marine life and the provider of food for more than 500 million people, as well as seagrass meadows and kelp forests and can be particularly harmful to certain species of fish. Long-term ocean warming is strongest in the Atlantic and Southern oceans although the north Pacific has had a “dramatic” increase in heat since 1990 and the Mediterranean Sea posted a clear high temperature record in 2021

According to The Guardian: ““As the world warms from the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other activities, the oceans have taken the brunt of the extra heat. More than 90 percent of the heat generated over the past 50 years has been absorbed by the oceans, temporarily helping spare humanity, and other land-based species, from temperatures that would already be catastrophic.

Kyle Van Houtan, chief scientist for Monterey Bay Aquarium and the head of a team that published a study on climate change and oceans in PLOS Climate in early 2022 said: "Today, the majority of the ocean's surface has warmed to temperatures that only a century ago occurred as rare, once-in-50-year extreme warming events” and extreme heat has become a new normal across most of the ocean's surface. As the ocean heats up and as its ecosystems collapse, so too does their ability to buffer low-lying coastal regions from severe weather or to serve as a carbon sink for human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. [Source: The Hill, February 2, 2022]

Hottest Ocean Temperatures Ever Recorded in 2021

Bleached coral
The hottest ocean temperatures in history were recorded in 2021 — the sixth consecutive year that this record has been broken. Despite an La Niña event, which cools cools waters in the Pacific, 2021 set a heat record for the top 2,000 meters of all oceans around the world,. Modern record-keeping for global ocean temperatures began in 1955. The second hottest year for oceans was 2020, while the third hottest was 2019.[Source: Oliver Milman, The Guardian, January 11, 2022]

“The ocean heat content is relentlessly increasing, globally, and this is a primary indicator of human-induced climate change,” said Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado and co-author of the research, published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. “The heating trend is so pronounced it’s clear to ascertain the fingerprint of human influence in just four years of records, according to John Abraham, another of the study’s co-authors. “Ocean heat content is one of the best indicators of climate change,” added Abraham, an expert in thermal sciences at University of St Thomas.

According to The Guardian: “The amount of heat soaked up by the oceans is enormous. In 2021, the upper 2,000 meters of the ocean, where most of the warming occurs, absorbed 14 more zettajoules (a unit of electrical energy equal to one sextillion joules) than it did in 2020. This amount of extra energy is 145 times greater than the world’s entire electricity generation which, by comparison, is about half of a zettajoule.

Oceans and Carbon Dioxide

Acting as a large sponge, oceans absorb about a third of the carbon dioxide that humans produce. If it wasn’t for the oceans the Earth could be two degrees warmer rather than one degree it is now. A study published in Science in July 2004 that involves analyzing 70,000 samples taken from around the globe in the 1990s reported that 48 percent of carbons dioxide produced by humans from 1800 and 1994 — 467 billion tons of the gas — had been absorbed by seawater. Not only that the oceans have produced much of the oxygen we breath.

By some estimates carbon dioxide is entering the ocean at a rate of 1 million tons an hour, ten times the natural rate. There is a large concentration of carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe and North Africa. The concentrations of carbon dioxide here are around 1.2 kilograms per meter, double or quadruple the amounts in most other seas. The North Atlantic Ocean holds the most because that is where cooled surface water sinks, filling more of the water column with carbon.

Elizabeth Kolbert wrote in National Geographic, “The air and the water constantly exchange gases, so a portion of anything emitted into the atmosphere eventually ends up in the sea. Winds quickly mix it into the top few hundred feet, and over centuries currents spread it through the ocean depths. In the 1990s an international team of scientists undertook a massive research project that involved collecting and analyzing more than 77,000 seawater samples from different depths and locations around the world. The work took 15 years. It showed that the oceans have absorbed 30 percent of the CO2 released by humans over the past two centuries. They continue to absorb roughly a million tons every hour. [Source: Elizabeth Kolbert, National Geographic, April 2011]

Robert Stewart wrote in “Introduction to Physical Oceanography”: Two aspects of the deep circulation are especially important for understanding earth’s climate and its possible response to increased carbon dioxide CO2 in the atmosphere: A) the ability of cold water to store CO2 and heat absorbed from the atmosphere, and B) the ability of deep currents to modulate the heat transported from the tropics to high latitudes. [Source: Robert Stewart, “Introduction to Physical Oceanography”, Texas A&M University, 2008]

The ocean is the primary reservoir of readily available CO2. The ocean contain 40,000 GtC ((gigatonnes of carbon) of dissolved, particulate, and living forms of carbon. The land contains 2,200 GtC, and the atmosphere contains only 750 GtC. Thus the ocean hold 50 times more carbon than the air. Furthermore, the amount of new carbon put into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution, 150 GtC, is less than the amount of carbon cycled through the marine ecosystem in five years. (1 GtC = 1 gigaton of carbon = 1012 kilograms of carbon.) Carbonate rocks such as limestone, the shells of marine animals, and coral are other, much larger, reservoirs. But this carbon is locked up. It cannot be easily exchanged with carbon in other reservoirs.

More CO2 dissolves in cold water than in warm water. Just imagine shaking and opening a hot can of CokeTM. The CO2 from a hot can will spew out far faster than from a cold can. Thus the cold deep water in the ocean is the major reservoir of dissolved CO2 in the ocean. New CO2 is released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels and trees are burned. Very quickly, 48 percent of the CO2 released into the atmosphere dissolves into the ocean (Sabine et al, 2004), much of which ends up deep in the ocean. Forecasts of future climate change depend strongly on how much CO2 is stored in the ocean and for how long. If little is stored, or if it is stored and later released into the atmosphere, the concentration in the atmosphere will change, modulating earth’s long-wave radiation balance.

Role of the Ocean in Ice-Age Climate Change

According to the “Introduction to Physical Oceanography”: “What might happen if the production of deep water in the Atlantic is shut off? Information contained in Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, in north Atlantic sediments, and in lake sediments provide important clues. Several ice cores through the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets provide a continuous record of atmospheric conditions over Greenland and Antarctica extending back more than 700,000 years before the present in some cores. Annual layers in the core are counted to get age. Deeper in the core, where annual layers are hard to see, age is calculated from depth and from dust layers from well-dated volcanic eruptions. Oxygen-isotope ratios of the ice give air temperature at the glacier surface when the ice was formed. Deuterium concentrations give ocean-surface temperature at the moisture source region. Bubbles in the ice give atmospheric CO2 and methane concentration. Pollen, chemical composition, and particles give information about volcanic eruptions, wind speed, and direction. Thickness of annual layers gives snow accumulation rates. And isotopes of some elements give solar and cosmic ray activity (Alley, 2000). [Source: Robert Stewart, “Introduction to Physical Oceanography”, Texas A&M University, 2008]

Cores through deep-sea sediments in the north Atlantic made by the Ocean Drilling Program give information about i) surface and deep temperatures and salinity at the location of above the core, ii) the production of north Atlantic deep water, iii) ice volume in glaciers, and iv) production of icebergs. Ice-sheet and deep-sea cores have allowed reconstructions of climate for the past few hundred thousand years.

The oxygen-isotope and deuterium records in the ice cores show abrupt climate variability many times over the past 700,000 years. Many times during the last ice age temperatures near Greenland warmed rapidly over periods of 1–100 years, followed by gradual cooling over longer periods. For example, around 11, 500 years ago, temperatures over Greenland warmed by ≈ 8 degrees C in 40 years in three steps, each spanning 5 years. Such abrupt warming is called a Dansgaard/Oeschger event. Other studies have shown that much of the northern hemisphere warmed and cooled in phase with temperatures calculated from the ice core.

The climate of the past 8,000 years was constant with very little variability. Our perception of climate change is thus based on highly unusual circumstances. All of recorded history has been during a period of warm and stable climate. Hartmut Heinrich and colleagues (Bond et al. 1992), studying the sediments in the north Atlantic found periods when coarse material was deposited on the bottom in mid ocean. Only icebergs can carry such material out to sea, and the find indicated times when large numbers of icebergs were released into the north Atlantic. These are now called Heinrich events.

The correlation of Greenland temperature with iceberg production is related to the deep circulation. When icebergs melted, the surge of fresh water increased the stability of the water column shutting off the production of north Atlantic Deep Water. The shut-off of deep-water formation greatly reduced the northward transport of warm water into the north Atlantic, producing very cold northern hemisphere climate. The melting of the ice pushed the polar front, the boundary between cold and warm water in the north Atlantic further south than its present position. The location of the front, and the time it was at different positions can be determined from analysis of bottom sediments.

When the meridional overturning circulation shuts down, heat normally carried from the south Atlantic to the north Atlantic becomes available to warm the southern hemisphere. This explains the Antarctic warming. The switching on and off of the meridional overturning circulation” can have a large impact. “The circulation has two stable states. The first is the present circulation. In the second, deep water is produced mostly near Antarctica, and upwelling occurs in the far north Pacific (as it does today) and in the far north Atlantic. Once the circulation is shut off, th system switches to the second stable state. The return to normal salinity does not cause the circulation to turn on. Surface waters must become saltier than average for the first state to return. A weakened version of this process with a period of about 1000 years may be modulating present-day climate in the north Atlantic, and it may have been responsible for the Little Ice Age from 1100 to 1800.

Global Warming and Sea Life

Marine life absorbs about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere a year. Much of the world’s carbon stocks are held in plankton, mangroves, salt marshes and other marine life. Algae in the sea absorbs some of the excessive carbon dioxide but most of it never reach the seabed to become a permanent store. Mangrove forest, salt marshes and sea grass bed cover less than 1 percent of the world’s seabed but they lock away well over half of all carbon absorbed by marine life.

Some underwater creatures such as mussels and freshwater snails emit nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas — a powerful greenhouse gas that is 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere.

sea surface temperatures

Carbon dioxide in the air and the seas and warmer sea temperatures result in less oxygen near the surface of the sea and produce oxygen poor zones that extend vertically. The massive dead zones like the on off the west coast of the United States are believed to be caused by global warming and warming sea temperatures and changes between the wind and sea that deprive the water of oxygen. The lack of oxygen will be especially tough on large sea creatures that need lots of oxygen to move around and hunt.

High temperatures have already resulted in the bleaching of coral and disappearance of Arctic ice cover. In the Americas global warming has caused an oyster-infecting bacterium that causes food poisoning in humans to spread from the Gulf of Mexico to waters off Alaska. The high temperatures also stunt growth, reduce food supplies and can force fish to breed in or move to cooler water for which they are not adapted.

Climate change affects turtles, sea snakes and crocodiles because the environmental temperature controls the reptiles’ body temperatures (except for the leatherback turtle). Of all the marine reptiles on the Reef, turtles are the most vulnerable to climate change. The temperature of the sand, where eggs are laid, determines the sex of turtles. Air temperature and sea temperature increases will alter turtle breeding seasons and patterns, egg hatching success and the sex ratio of the populations.

Seabirds are considered to be some of the most vulnerable species to climate change impacts. During frequent or intense El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation events in tropical waters, seabirds have fewer breeding cycles, slowed chick development and reduced nesting success. This is because higher sea temperatures during such events affect the availability of food for seabirds.

Water temperature partly determines the photosynthesis rates for seagrass — an important food source for dugongs and marine turtles. Temperature increases can reduce the efficiency of photosynthesis; however, the extent of this impact may depend on the species' reliance on the light. Temperature also plays a role in seagrass flowering (and thus reproductive) patterns.

Global Warming and Fish

Global warming is blamed for causing warmer sea temperatures in the North Sea which in turn have causes many species of fish including cod, sole and whiting to migrate further north in search of cooler water.

Water temperature moderates fish body temperature, which means warmer oceans can affect important biological processes of fish, including growth, reproduction, swimming ability and behavior. Temperature limits can also affect the distribution and abundance of bait-fish aggregations. Some species are likely to expand their geographic ranges southward (or contract their migrations northward) as waters warm. Some fish respond well to high sea temperatures, as these temperatures can shorten incubation time, increase growth rates and improve swimming ability in juvenile fish. However, these benefits are limited to relatively minor temperature increase. [Source: Australia government]

Ocean heat content

Fish Grow Faster in Climate-Change-Warmed Water

Research by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization indicates that climate change is affecting fish growth, with species living in warmer, shallow water growing faster and those living in cooling deep ocean waters growing slower. Ron Thresher, an oceanographer involved with the study told Reuters, “Fish growth rates are closely tied with water temperature s, so warming surface waters mean the shallow-water fish are growing more slowly than they were a century ago. The finding was made by examining 555 fish specimens aged between 2 and 128 born between 1861 and 1992 and comparing that with changes in sea temperatures obtained from 60-year-old records and data obtained from 440-year-old deep water coral.

Michael Perry of Reuters wrote: The research found fish were growing faster in waters above a depth of 250 meters (825 feet) and had slower growth rates below 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). “These observations suggest that global climate change has enhanced some elements of productivity of shallow-water stocks but at the same time reduced the productivity and possibly the resilience of deep-water stocks,” said the CSIRO’s Ron Thresher. “Growth rates in the deep-water fish are slowing because water temperatures down there have been falling, apparently for the last several hundred years.”[Source: Michael Perry, Reuters, April 27, 2007]

“Fish growth rates are closely tied with water temperatures, so warming surface waters mean the shallow-water fish are growing more quickly, while the deep water fish are growing more slowly than they were a century ago.” Populations of large marine species are subject to two major stress factors, commercial fishing and climate change, and the heavy exploitation increases the sensitivity of species to environmental effects, said Thresher.

Thresher’s team studied 555 fish specimens, such as Banded Morwong, Redfish, Jackass Morwong and Orange Roughy, from waters around Maria Island off the east coast of Australia’s island state of Tasmania. The fish were aged 2 to 128 years and had been born between 1861 to 1993. Changes in sea temperature were obtained from a 60-year-long record at Maria Island and by using 400-year-old deep-ocean corals to measure temperature at depth. The study found sea temperatures off east Tasmania had risen nearly two degrees Celsius, while a southerly shift in South Pacific winds had strengthened the warm, southerly flowing East Australian Current which runs down Australia’s east coast.

To gauge the growth rates of fish the scientists studied the earbones of eight fish species which show similar characteristics to the growth rings used to determine the age of a tree. “Average juvenile growth rates have changed significantly during the last 50 to 100 years for six of the eight species examined,” said the study published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Growth rates of juvenile Morwong, a coastal species which enjoys warmer waters, were 28.5 percent faster in the 1990s than in the mid-1950s, the CSIRO study found. By comparison, juvenile Oreos, a species found at depths of around 1,000 meters, were growing 27.9 percent slower than in the 1860s. The study found that the growth rates of deep-water species began decreasing before the onset of commercial fishing.

“With increasing global warming, temperatures at intermediate depths are likely to rise near-globally. This could mean that over the course of time, the decrease in growth rates for the deep-water species could slow or even be reversed,” said Thresher.

Ph (Acid) levels in the ocean

Ocean Acidification

Extra carbon dioxide molecule in sea water alters the pH level of sea water, making it slightly more acidic. In some places scientists have observed rises in acidity of 30 percent and predict 100 to 150 percent increases by 2100. The mixture of carbon dioxide and seawater creates carbonic acid, the weak acid in carbonated drinks. The increased acidity reduces the abundance of carbonate ions and other chemicals necessary to form calcium carbonate used make sea shells and coral skeletons. To get an idea what acid can due to shells remember back to high school chemistry classes when acid was added to calcium carbonate, causing it to fizz.

Elizabeth Kolbert wrote in National Geographic, The pH scale, which measures acidity in terms of the concentration of hydrogen ions, runs from zero to 14. At the low end of the scale are strong acids, such as hydrochloric acid, that release hydrogen readily (more readily than carbonic acid does). At the high end are strong bases such as lye. Pure, distilled water has a pH of 7, which is neutral. Seawater should be slightly basic, with a pH around 8.2 near the sea surface. So far CO2 emissions have reduced the pH there by about 0.1. Like the Richter scale, the pH scale is logarithmic, so even small numerical changes represent large effects. A pH drop of 0.1 means the water has become 30 percent more acidic. If present trends continue, surface pH will drop to around 7.8 by 2100. At that point the water will be 150 percent more acidic than it was in 1800. [Source: Elizabeth Kolbert, National Geographic, April 2011]

Ways to Reduce Climate Change Involving the Sea

There are several ways to reduce climate change involving the sea and human activity there. Christine Todd Whitman and Leon Panetta wrote in Politico: Among these are: “Boost Offshore Renewables: Offshore renewables, like wind and wave energy, can help power the nation while cutting emissions. These sources of clean energy can serve as part of a just and equitable transition by providing economic benefits and abundant electricity to the communities that have suffered the most under climate change [Source: Christine Todd Whitman and Leon Panetta, Politico, January 29, 2022, 3:30 AM.

“Reduce Emissions from Shipping: We also need to look to the ocean to significantly reduce contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, such as maritime shipping, which generates more emissions than airlines. The administration, working with ports and the shipping industry, can implement strategies that will move us to zero-carbon shipping by 2050 to drastically reduce the climate contributions of cargo ships and freighters at sea. Infrastructure improvements at ports, fleet upgrades and alternative fuels can all be part of the effort.

“Rebuild Coastal Ecosystems: By protecting the ocean, we also enable the ocean to protect us through natural climate mitigation. Carbon-rich coastal environments like salt marshes, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests all naturally absorb carbon up to four times more effectively than trees on land. And when we conserve these habitats for their climate benefits, we are also protecting natural coastal infrastructure that will safeguard communities against storms and rising sea levels. This is particularly crucial for supporting marginalized communities, including low-income neighborhoods that were built in flood zones and are on the front lines of the climate crisis.

Another idea that is being considered is collecting large amounts of sea water, electronically separating the salt into positive-charged sodium and negatively-charged chloride. The chloride is removed and the water is placed into the ocean, altering its chemistry . To regain its balance the dissolved carbon dioxide changes into carbonates, creating more rooms for carbon dioxide to be sucked from the air. There are a lot of problems with the chemical: cost, a lack of technology to change sea water and risks to marine life.

Combating Global Warming — By Dumping Iron in the Sea?

Dumping iron in the seas can help transfer carbon from the atmosphere and bury it on the ocean floor for centuries, helping to fight climate change, study released in 2012 suggested. Reuters reported: The report, by an international team of experts, provided a boost for the disputed use of such ocean fertilization for combating global warming. But it failed to answer questions over possible damage to marine life. When dumped into the ocean, the iron can spur growth of tiny plants that carry heat-trapping carbon to the ocean floor when they die, the study said. [Source: Alister Doyle, Reuters, July 19, 2012]

Scientists dumped seven metric tonnes (7.7 tons) of iron sulphate, a vital nutrient for marine plants, into the Southern Ocean in 2004. At least half of the heat-trapping carbon in the resulting bloom of diatoms, a type of algae, sank below 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). “Iron-fertilized diatom blooms may sequester carbon for timescales of centuries in ocean bottom water and for longer in the sediments,” the team from more than a dozen nations wrote in the journal Nature.

Burying carbon in the oceans would help the fight against climate change. The study was the first convincing evidence that carbon, absorbed by algae, can sink to the ocean bed. One doubt about ocean fertilization has been whether the carbon stays in the upper ocean layers, where it can mix back into the air.A dozen previous studies have shown that iron dust can help provoke blooms of algae but were inconclusive about whether it sank.

Using Plankton and Mangroves to Combat Global Warming

One idea is to spread vast amounts of iron compounds in the ocean to promote the growth of phytoplankton, which in turn would feed millions of fish that would die in a boom and bust cycle and sink to bottom and lock up the carbon their tissues. Tests of this theory shows the fish quickly decay releasing any carbon dioxide they might otherwise locked up. Russ George, CEO of Planktos, is investigating how much carbon dioxide plankton soaks up and has suggested growing huge floating fields of plankton to soak up the gas. Planktos has released tons of iron over a 10,000'square area of ocean to see how well plankton grows there. Environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the WWF have opposed the experiment over concerns for the welfare of marine life.

Mangrove roots, like those of other plants, need oxygen. Since estuarine mud contains virtually no oxygen and is highly acidic, they have to extract oxygen from the air. Mangrove roots extract oxygen with above-ground, flange-like pores called lenticels, which are covered with loose waxy cells that allow air in but not water. Some species of mangrove have the lenticels on their prop roots. Others have them on their trunks or have pneumatophores (fingerlike projection that grow up from the organic ooze). A single large tree such as “Sonneratia alba” can produce thousands of rootlike snorels that radiate out in all direction.

Mangroves sit like platforms on the mud. Their roots are imbedded in the mud just deep enough so plants don't wash away. The areal roots also spread out in such a way that act like buttresses. Scientists have determined carbon inputs and outputs of mangrove ecosystems by measuring photosynthesis, sap flow and other process in the leaves of mangrove plants. They have found that mangroves are excellent carbon sinks, or absorbers of carbon dioxide. Research by Jin Eong On, a retired professor of marine and coastal studied in Penang, Malaysia, believes that mangroves may have the highest net productivity of carbon of any natural ecosystem. (About a 100 kilograms per hectare per day) and that as much as a third of this may be exported in the form of organic compounds to mudflats. On’s research has show that much of the carbon ends up in sediments, locked away for thousands of years and that transforming mangroves into shrimp farms can release this carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere 50 times faster than if the mangrove was left undisturbed.

A United Nations task force on mangroves and the environment recommending: 1) setting up a blue carbon fund to help developing countries to protect mangroves as well as rain forests; 2) place a value on mangroves that takes into consideration their value as carbon sinks; and 3) allow coastal and ocean carbon sinks to be traded in same fashion as those for terrestrial forests. Christian Nellemann, an author a United Nations report on the issue, told the Times of London, “There is an urgency to act now to maintain and enhance these carbon sinks. We are losing these crucial ecosystem much faster than rainforests and at the very time we need them. If current trends continue they [mangrove and coastal ecosystems] may be largely lost within a couple of decades.”

Image Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Wikimedia Commons, except giant jellyfish from Hector Garcia blog

Text Sources: Mostly NOAA, National Geographic articles. Also the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Natural History magazine, Discover magazine, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated February 2023

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