There is a lot of confusion about climate change, but it’s clear that it’s affecting our world in ways that are hard to predict. Our oceans are being slowly changed as glaciers melt altering the salinity of seawater and in many areas of the world access to safe drinking water is not guaranteed. In this article, we will look at three ways that our oceans are changing due to climate change and how this could affect our world in the future.

Changes in Current Patterns

Scientists have been fascinated by oceanic currents and how they change for hundreds of years. As the science has evolved and more research has been carried out, some disturbing trends have been identified. A slow down in the oceanic currents is perhaps the most concerning, the Atlantic current is 30% weaker than it was in 2004 and other oceans are showing a similar slowdown. Susan Lozier is a physical oceanographer at Duke University; she leads a team of oceanographers that are searching for a link between climate change and the slowing of ocean currents. Many researchers remain unconvinced of a link, but Dr. Loziers team is hoping that they can gain some insight into the underlying causes and prove that climate change is at least an important factor in this phenomenon.

Rapid Evolutionary Development

We are all familiar with the concept of evolution through exposure to basic biological theories. But, when we look at evolution, we’re often discussing changes that occur very gradually, usually over millions of years. Every species from bacteria to the largest whales and land dwelling mammals has undergone significant evolution. As our oceans begin to warm up, scientists are starting to notice that evolution is now occurring at a much faster rate.

A research team based at Flinder University in Australia has been testing different species of goby fish using DNA information. A goby fish is a small regional species that is found in both freshwater and saltwater habitats. The research is testing how goby fish have evolved, and the findings are challenging the previous beliefs that a portion of a species must be isolated to evolve in a different way. In each regional goby population, slight DNA alterations were found based on whether the fish live in tropical, subtropical, cool temperate or warm temperate waters. The remaining genes were unaltered, so the only reason for the evolutionary difference is the change in water temperatures.

Ocean Surface Color Changes

The blue and green areas of our oceans are undergoing an intensifying in color, and it’s believed that climate change is responsible. An MIT study found that phytoplankton (a microscopic aquatic plant) changes caused by climate change could drastically change the color of our oceans in the coming decades. When the water is warmer, phytoplankton, growth, interaction, mix, absorption and reflection of light are all affected. Some researchers have postulated that 50% of the ocean surface will have far more intense colors by 2100 as the phytoplankton habits change.