TORONTO – Arctic ice levels have reached record highs, according to a new report on the world’s oceans and the impact of climate change.
Between 1979 and 2020, the average amount of sea ice area, the area of the ocean where there is at least some ice, in the Arctic declined by an area roughly equal to the size of Greenland.
The results can be found in the fifth edition of the Copernicus Ocean State Report, published last week in the Journal of Operational Oceanography. This year’s report is based on the analysis of more than 120 scientific experts from more than 30 European institutions. The annual publication presents a comprehensive summary of the current state of Earth’s oceans.
“Climate change, pollution and overexploitation have placed unprecedented pressures on the ocean, necessitating the urgent need for sustainable governance, adaptation and management measures to ensure the various life support roles that the ocean has to offer. ‘ocean offers for human well-being,’ Karina von Schuckmann, who chaired the report, said in a Press release.
“Scientifically sound knowledge derived from high-quality ocean products and delivered by ocean services is essential to spur transformative change. Viewing the ocean as a fundamental factor in the Earth system and embracing the multidimensional and interconnected nature of the ocean is the foundation for a future. “
The report discusses a number of key changes and trends in the world’s oceans.
For example, the sea level rose at an average rate of 3.1 millimeters per year from January 1993 to May 2020. The Baltic Sea rose the most, at a rate of 4.5 millimeters per year.
During the same period, ocean temperatures have increased by an average of 0.015 degrees Celsius per year. Topping the list was the Black Sea, whose temperature has risen by 0.071 degrees Celsius per year.
It is estimated that the warming of the Arctic Ocean alone contributes almost four percent of the global warming of the ocean.
Speaking of the Arctic, a nearly 90 percent reduction in average sea ice thickness has been observed in the Barents Sea in northwest Russia, according to the report.
Extreme changes between cold waves and marine heat waves in the North Sea, nestled between the UK, Norway, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as parts of Belgium and from France, have been linked to reported changes in catches of sole, European lobster, sea bass, red mullet and edible crabs.
The report also noted four consecutive record floods in Venice, Italy in November 2019, as well as above-average wave heights in the southern Mediterranean Sea.