The most pivotal role in climate change and the control system of the world around us is the ocean.
The ocean makes half of the oxygen we need. It absorbs one-fourth of carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gasses. An article by the United Nations refers to the ocean as “not just the lungs of the planet but also its largest climate sink - a vital buffer against the impacts of climate change”.
As greenhouse gas emissions are increasing, it is hurting the ocean as well. The emissions are causing the waters to warm and making the water more acidic. This not only causes immense differences in life on land but also in life underwater. Unfortunately, this decreases the amount of carbon dioxide that the ocean can absorb.
Mangroves are trees and shrubs with above-ground roots that lie along coasts. They are one of the biggest natural carbon storage systems in the world. It holds almost 1,000 tons of carbon and is able to hold four times as much as terrestrial forests. By reducing erosion, mangroves help stabilize the coastlines. During the rain season, mangroves protect the water by removing nutrients before they reach other habitats. Similarly, mangrove forests provide a habitat and shelter for many species in the wild. These abilities make mangroves extremely valuable to the environment.
Coral reefs are underwater ecosystems that consist of colonies of coral polyps. They are some of the most valuable ecosystems on the planet: from an ecological and economical perspective. Although they only cover 0.1% of the ocean on the planet, they help above 25% of all marine life, while simultaneously acting as coastal protection for one billion people, medicines, and tourism.
While only two of the essential factors of climate change in the ocean were mentioned, there are millions more that make an extreme difference.