STATE OF OCEAN REPORT (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     6th June 2024        
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Context: The UNESCO State of Ocean Report recently highlighted that while the oceans play a crucial role in climate regulation, the world's understanding remains insufficient to design solutions for multiple ocean crises and validate new technologies aimed at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

State of Ocean Report

  • About: It collect the latest information on global ocean conditions, covering issues from pollution to biodiversity, to help key policy-makers make informed decisions on ocean protection and sustainable planning.
  • Launched by: UNESCO
  • Objective: To inform policymakers about the state of the ocean and to stimulate research and policy actions towards 'the ocean we need for the future we want’.

Key Highlights of the Report

  • Ocean Warming Rate: The upper 2,000 metres (m) of oceans warmed at a rate of 0.32 ± 0.03 watt per square metre (W/m²) from 1960 through 2023.
  • Future Warming Projections: It is expected to warm in the future as well, leading to irreversible changes in the centennial to millennial time scales.
  • Need for Regular Data: The report calls for the need to provide regular data on how ocean warming is evolving and its impacts. This is needed to support the decade challenge for healthy and resilient oceans.
  • Earth Energy Imbalance: Another consequence of increased greenhouse gas emissions from human activities is increased uptake of the Earth energy imbalance (EEI) by oceans. 
  • EEI is the balance between incoming energy from the Sun and outgoing energy from the Earth.
  • Impact on Ocean: Scientists think that increased ocean heat content (OHC) prevents ocean layers from mixing, lowering the preformed oxygen content of near-surface high latitude waters reaching the deeper layers of oceans. The reduction is termed ‘deoxygenation’.
  • Consequences of Deoxygenation: It is a concern as it can have long-term negative impacts on the health of coastal and large marine ecosystems, a sustainable blue economy, and coastal communities that depend on oceans such as tourism, fisheries, aquaculture, and ecosystem services. Excess nutrients from coastal areas also cause deoxygenation.
  • Marine Carbon Dioxide Removal Technologies: The UNESCO report also takes stock of the recent developments in marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR) technologies. This involves techniques that capture carbon dioxide from the air and store it durably.
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