preview

Negative Effects of Global Warming on Planet Earth

Better Essays
Global warming refers to the increasing temperature of the earth’s atmosphere due to rises in CO2 and other pollutants, collectively referred to as greenhouse gases. This increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases is leading to climate changes experienced world-wide. The warming of the earth’s atmosphere has resulted in the rise of water temperatures in oceans and seas. The coral reef ecosystem is highly sensitive to even the smallest of changes in temperature. As sea temperatures rise, the corals pass their thermal thresholds and enter a state of stress. When they are stressed the symbiotic zooxanthellae that live within them leave. The zooxanthellae and the coral share a symbiotic relationship meaning that they both benefit from one another’s presence. When the zooxanthellae leave, they take part of the coral’s energy source with them. Also when this expulsion of zooxanthellae occurs, the coral loses its color which gives rise to the term coral bleaching. Coral bleaching does not always result in the death of coral, but it does make them more susceptible to disease and UV radiation. Global warming is also causing oceans to acidify which weakens coral structure making them easy targets for bacteria and disease. The oceans absorb the CO2 from the atmosphere which in turn lowers the pH of the water and reduces the calcification rate of reef building coral (NOAA).
Coral bleaching is a global issue as earth’s sea temperatures continue to rise. Reefs located along the equator, such as the Belize Barrier Reef, the Florida Reef, the Hawaii Coral Reefs and Great Barrier Reef in Australia are all affected by the phenomenon. Organizations like the Coral Watch and Save the Reef have directed their actions to the monitoring and prese...

... middle of paper ...

...ral die over the next century.
Coral reefs are a highly sensitive ecosystem. Even the slightest changes in the environment, such as pH fluxes and temperature rises, result in catastrophic events including coral bleaching. The Belize Barrier Reef and the Great Barrier Reef are two reefs that have experienced the most severe coral bleaching. This detrimental not only to the fish which depend on the coral, but to the economies of the surrounding countries which thrive on various water-related tourist attractions. With the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases, this trend only seems to be on the rise unless something is done to reverse it. Corals may be able to adapt to these stresses over time, but the real solution comes from lowering human carbon and other greenhouse gas output. If this is accomplished, the environment may be able to bounce back and flourish.
Get Access