Global ocean changes predicted by 2100

The climate will change over 95 percent of the surface of the ocean by the end of the century if mankind does not reduce carbon emissions. This scenario was predicted by scientists at Northwestern University and the University of Maryland (USA), who published the results of scientific work in the journal Scientific Reports.

The researchers modeled the climate of the world’s oceans for three time periods: the beginning of the XIX century (1795-1834), the late XX century (1965-2004) and the late XXI century (2065-2104). They considered several global emissions scenarios, including RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. Under the former, greenhouse gas emissions would peak in 2050, followed by a gradual decline. RCP8.5 assumes that greenhouse gas emissions will increase over the next 80 years.

Scientists found that under the RCP4.5 scenario, 36 percent of current conditions over the ocean surface that were present during the 20th century are likely to disappear by 2100. In the high emission scenario, that figure rises to 95 percent. This would affect the oceans, which would have increased water temperatures and acidity. At the same time, minerals vital to the growth of marine life are predicted to decrease.

Although surface species can still move to avoid abnormally warm or acidic areas of the ocean, scientists suggest that future migration of living organisms may be limited because of near-equal warming and acidification.