The average temperature of the earth has been rising gently over the last decades. This climate change is mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels whereby much CO2 is being released. This amount of released CO2 cannot be reduced through photosynthesis due to massive deforestation. Due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere, not only the temperature on the land increases, but also of the seas and oceans. This leads to:
• a rise in the sea level
• a change in the composition of the species
• the acidification of the seawater
• a change of the oceanic currents
Increase of sea level
Due to the increased temperature, the polar ice caps melt faster than ever before. This causes the sea level to rise. Low-lying coastal areas are threatened to be submerged. This has, among other things, consequences to the coastal safety, the residents and the coastal tourism.
A rise in the sea level - Misjel Decleer
Change of composition of species
The natural habitat of more southerly species shifts northward in view of warmer water temperature. On the one hand, animals or plants that previously did not occur here enter our sea, such as some barnacles species of the hard surfaces such as buoys and bases of wind turbines. On the other hand, traditional species such as the herring disappear.
This changed composition of species may lead to disturbed ecological relationships between the species and may have an impact on the marine food chain.
Change of the oceanic currents
The seas and the oceans are a moving body of water, the direction and speed of the oceanic currents may change. These currents are caused by the differences in the water temperature between the tropics and the poles. As the water gets colder, it becomes heavier and sinks to the deeper parts of the oceans in order to come up again elsewhere. Climate change may have an impact on these currents.
The climate change demands a global approach, although anyone can personally contribute one's mite: consume less energy, choose renewable energy source, use energy-efficient technology...
The Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services (MDK) in Flanders is taking steps to counteract, among others, the rise in the sea level with its Coastal Safety Master plan.