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13 Effects of Global Warming in Ocean Salinity

by Ranisa Alda

The world today has changed in so many ways and the developments that are continually being made is certainly making our world a more convenient place to live in. However, with good things also come bad things. The over-development that are being made in the world now, sometimes, overlook the importance of our environment and how crucial it is for us to protect the environment, if not for the world, then for our very own sake.

This situation then resulted in the warming up of our world, or we commonly call as global warming. Global warming itself have such a wide range of impacts and one of them is impacting the salinity of the ocean. This article in particular will talk about the effects of global warming in ocean salinity.

See also: Global Warming in Ocean

  1. Increasing of Salinity on Saltier Parts of the Ocean

Records showed that the saltier parts of the ocean are altering to be saltier due to the warming climate. It is showed that the salt content increased by 4 percent in the 50 years between the 1950 to 2000. The data used for the research is ranged from the 1950 to 2000. Gathered by some instruments, some tethered in place, some adrift on the ocean currents, some even measured from as far down as 9,000 feet under the ocean surface.

See also: Global Warming Ocean Rise

  1. Decreasing of Salinity on Less Salty Parts of the Ocean

As the opposite of the first point, the change of salinity makes the less salty part of the ocean become even less salty. This can cause some problems since water that become even less salty might eventually become fresh water. And for all we should know, an overflowing amount of fresh water will not at all be a good news. Fresh water is less denser than salty water and will cause some changes that will we explain further on the next points.

See also: Impact of Global Warming on Marine Life

  1. Melted Glaciers

The warming temperature of the Earth has caused the glaciers in Antarctica to melt down. Then dumping the runoffs of this glacier into the ocean water. This situation plays a big part to the changing of ocean salinity since the amount of fresh water washes off the ocean’s original salty water.

See also: Causes of Rising Ocean Temperatures

  1. Water Density

One of the effects of global warming in ocean salinity is that it can change the density of these waters. The water that become less salty then will become less dense, meanwhile the water that gets saltier will get denser. These changes can cause density gradients to shift. This will then may become a big issue since the density gradients plays a major role to move and climate patters. For example, denser water will sink deeper into the ocean and if the amount of it exceeds or less than the usual amount, then everything will change.

See also: Salinity of Ocean Water

  1. Affect the Currents

The changes in ocean’s salinity can have some impacts on the ocean currents. This can happen since saltwater is denser than fresh water and sinks. Slight changes in ocean currents themselves can have huge impacts such as droughts and heat waves to hurricane formation.

See also: Ways to Stop Rising Ocean Levels

  1. Conveyor Belts

The changing of salinity can cause the conveyor belt of the ocean that is responsible for the Earth’s temperature to change, thus will cause a huge impact for the Earth itself. This can happen since the fresh water – that is less dense than the salty water – is increasing and will make changes on the ocean flows, and one of them is the conveyor belt.

See also: Importance of Arctic Ocean

  1. Global Cooling

Despite the effects of the changing in conveyor belts, however, scientists haven’t found any specific change yet in the conveyor belt up until 2005. There was also a research, conducted on 2004, to study the change of conveyor belt and the impact it will possibly make.

The study then found that if the conveyor belts will be altered fully in the future, it might actually make the Earth plunge into global cooling just like how this planet had experience million years ago. And for all we know, global cooling is definitely as bad as the global warming.

See also: Risks to the Great Barrier Reef

  1. Rising Sea Level

The changing of salinity has caused and increase precipitation and runoffs. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutions (WHOI) found that in the last decade, fresh water has been accumulating in the Nordic Seas layer (the upper 1,000 meters layer). It was also calculated that water with total of an extra 19,000 cubic kilometers had flow and diluted to the northern seas.

At the other part of the world, it was found that Mississippi river releases estimatedly 500 cubic kilometers of freshwater each year to the Gulf of Mexico. Also, the Amazon river is estimated to discharge roughly 5,000 cubic kilometers of freshwater each year.

See also: Effects of Greenhouse

  1. Increases the Amount of Evaporated Water

For example, ocean water in Antarctica was originally less salty, the global warming then made the water in there even more less salty than before since the ice cap in there melted. This shows how the air in Antarctica is getting warmer. The warmer air then can absorb and evaporate more water into the air. For every degree Celsius that the temperature increases, the amount of evaporated water will also increase into 7 percent.

See also: Causes of Coral Bleeching

  1. Make the Earth’s Parts both Drier and More Wet

The intensifying water cycle on both end of the spectrum due to the previous point, each part of the world become even more into their original state. In places where the rainfall exceeds the evaporation, the rain then increases. On the opposite, the part of the world where it is originally dry, then will become drier since the evaporation decreases due to the changed water cycle explained before.

See also: Conservation of Oceans

  1. Disasters Match to Its Respective Areas

The parts where it becomes more wet due to the overpouring amount of rainfall may cause them so suffer some disasters since the areas will originally not ready to face such a huge amount of water. Disasters such as flood and landslide may happen. Whereas in arid part, the weather that will become even more dry may cause them to suffer from disasters such as drought.

See also: Threats to Marine Biodiversity

  1. Food Availability, Stability, Access, and Utilization

The ocean water than becomes saltier due to global warming thus change the water cycle like what have been explained before. This cause changes too on food production and access. On arid areas for example, they need require rainfall to provide water for irrigation of their rice and other plant fields.

However, the changing in the water cycle, like what have been explained on the previous point, will make these areas become drier, thus making them not able to produce their own food. Other example would be, how in areas that are poured repeatedly with rainfall may cause flood or landslide that will it difficult to access their food supply.

See also: Causes of Ocean Tides Rise and Fall

  1. Temperature Change

The changing of salinity in the water, as explained before, made less saltier water become even less salty or sort of turn them into fresh water. The massive amount of fresh water will have potential to shut down warm ocean currents that will then have effects on the world’s temperature.

See also: Marine Energy

Although the significant impacts because of the salinity change in the ocean water haven’t really shown yet up until now, it is important for us to note this issue from now and make some measured acts to counter it before it’s too late. These information about the effects of global warming in ocean salinity will hopefully be helpful to you and help people to realize more about the issue at hand.

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