No planet beats earth with its uniqueness in water abundance. Water sustains life on the planet, and it plays a role in linking the oceans, lands, as well as the atmosphere into a unified system. The hydrological cycle is made up of precipitation, freezing, evaporation, melting as well as condensation. This is an endless global process that entails circulation of water from the clouds, then it moves to the land, then the ocean, and to the clouds again. Water circulation in this process is associated with energy exchange between the atmosphere, the ocean, and the land.
The energy exchange linked in the circulation will then affect the earth’s climate; this will then cause a natural climate variability. The National Research Council’s (NRC) study on Research Pathways for the Next Decade states that water has an impact on the causes and effects of the climate change.
Which role does the ocean play in the water cycle?
Generally, the ocean holds about 97% of the water on earth, which is why it plays a huge role in the water cycle. Studies show that 78% of the earth precipitation take place over the ocean. This precipitation is the major source of 86% of the evaporation on earth.
Evaporation from the surface of the sea will affect the atmospheric water vapor, which then causes rainfall. This evaporation is important in the flow of heat in the climate system. In most cases, water will evaporate in the warm, and cloud-free subtropical sea surfaces. In the process, the ocean surface will be cooled. Also, the heat that is absorbed by the ocean will slightly cushion the greenhouse effect. This means that carbon dioxide and other harmful gases will be controlled.
As the water vapor is carried by the atmosphere, it will condense as clouds, and then fall as rain. This happens mostly around the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone – ITCZ. However, the water vapor doesn’t evaporate in this area. Latent heat will be released by the condensing water vapor, which drives a large amount of the atmospheric circulation in the tropical areas. The earth’s heat balance depends on the latent heat release, which also affects the water cycles and the energy of the planet.
- The human life is directly affected by the ocean, which supplies freshwater and almost all the global oxygen. Also, the ocean will control the climate of the earth while affecting the weather and health of humans.
- The sea offers medicine, mineral, foods, as well as energy resources. In addition, it offers job opportunities and supports the national economy. Nations use the ocean as a transportation highway for people and goods. It also supports the security of a nation.
- People use the ocean for recreation, inspiration, discovery, as well as rejuvenation. The ocean is a major element in many culture’s heritage.
- Just as the ocean affects the human lives, humans also affect the marine in a lot of ways. Rules, regulations, as well as resource management are factors that affect what goes in and out of the ocean. The human activities as well will determine the pollution level of the ocean.
- When there is a change in the temperature and pH of the ocean as a result of human activities, the survival of marine organism will be affected. Increase temperatures and shell formation inhibition will be impacted when there is an acidification of the ocean.
- Every human should take responsibility of taking care of the environment (sea, in this case).
Effects of overfishing
- Ecologists suggest that overfishing is the major factor that threaten the ecosystem of the oceans today. Some factors that lead to overfishing include the advancement of the fishing technology, as well as an increase in the fish demand. This has affected the marine life. Therefore, overfishing can negatively affect the ocean communities since it weakens the food chain and devastates the aquatic species natural habitats.
- IUCN confirms that industrial fishing can take around a decade to eliminate a specific fish species. As of now, many sea species have been wiped out due to commercial extinction. There is limited regulations in the fishing industry as well as fishing vessels, which has contributed to the commercial extinction. Surprisingly, around two-thirds of the marine is not governed by laws. In these parts of the ocean, the fishing vessels follow laws that are endorsed by their home country. Nonetheless, the majority of fishing nations haven’t approved any global convention to govern their marine or sea life.
- In today’s world, the fishing industry is declining, which means that the fish caught around the globe is declining in numbers. This is as a result of constant overfishing over the years. In Europe, eight out of every ten popular fish stocks are biologically unsafe. There’s also an increase in the illegal and unreported fishing, which has depleted the oceans. This is a huge concern to the whole fishing industry.
- Overfishing destroys the species of fish and interferes with the surrounding ecosystems.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): What is IUCN?