Europe’s Eyes on the Ocean
How the Copernicus Marine Services keeps track of the rising seas.
Venice is no stranger to water. Yet during the winters of 2019 and 2020, high ties completely flooded he Italian city, forcing citizens and tourists into waders and adding further pressures to struggling public infrastructure. Such visible natural disasters quickly bring the world’s attention to climate change. But a more subtle, profound transformation is taking place throughout the ocean.
Around 90 percent of the excess heat humans release into the earth system ends up in the ocean. This leads to rising sea levels on two fronts: higher temperatures cause water mass to expand; and as ice in the cryosphere melts, the waters rise further. According to the latest IPCC Special Report on ocean, sea level rise will continue to accelerate in the coming decades. As the ocean uptakes more carbon, it is turning increasingly acidic. Oxygen-starved hotspots are multiplying and growing. Changes in ocean physics, biochemistry and other human-induced pressures have driven fisheries catches down in many regions of the world for decades.
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How to cite: Quade, G. 2021. Europe’s eyes on the ocean. ECO Magazine SI Rising Sea, 2021, Chapter 2: Tools for measuring climate change.