Given that oceans cover at least 70 percent of Earth’s surface, it would stand to reason that they would have a huge influence on what happens to the rest of the planet.
Some of that influence—the little that we mere mortal humans know about, that is—is spelled out in this video illustrating the Oceans chapter of the National Climate Assessment released last year by President Barack Obama’s administration.
“Focus on the fact that oceans are the majority of the planet—or, well over 70 percent of the planet,” says chapter convening lead author Andrew Rosenberg in this video by The Story Group. “They’re intimately related to the way that the climate for the planet works. They absorb a lot of the heat that’s produced from trapping additional heat through greenhouse gases. They respond by changing ocean dynamics, ocean chemistry and physics, and in the biology of the ocean.”
Though one might wonder why these dots would need to be connected, connect them he does.
“So if the average temperature for a really, really large body of water increases, that’s an enormous amount of heat content,” he says. “The increase in average temperature again affects that climate cycle. So if the ocean temperature is increasing, that has impacts on air temperature over the entire globe, and what happens to sea ice, and so on.”
He alludes, too, to the acidification of the ocean, which is having a direct impact on everything from crustaceans to coral.
“These are not theoretical changes, these are observed changes we’re talking about in the report,” he notes.
The gorgeous ocean footage depicted in the video belies the danger, making it all the more important to watch.