The temperature of the ocean is something that cannot be directly seen by the naked eye. However, the impacts it brings are many. The ocean temperature plays a part in shaping the marine ecosystem and support humans lives.
Find out more about it in these 15 Importance of Ocean Temperature. Though there are many other factors affecting working of the oceans, it actually relies heavily on temperature as well.
1. Controls the Form of Ocean Water
The temperature of the ocean has a big part in controlling the form of the ocean water. When the temperature gets cold, the water can turn into ice. But when it’s hot, some of the water can become vapour. The vapour will then mix in with the atmosphere.
2. Regulates Heat on Earth
The ocean has the ability to absorb heat and solar energy. In a way, it does regulate the heat on earth. It prevents the earth from overheating which would make it into an inhabitable place for humans. Moreover, the ocean temperature maintains the health of the ocean so that it can still carry out its function.
Read also: Uses of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion
3. Determines Condition of Marine Organisms
Ocean temperature affects marine organisms too. Most organisms are very specific about the temperature that they can withstand. Too cold or too hot could mean death. The productivity of the marine organisms are dependant on the temperature.
4. Determines Density of Ocean Water
The density of the ocean water is determined by temperature. When the temperature is high, the water is dense. On the other hand, low temperature would mean less dense ocean water. Density affects salinity and currents that happen in the ocean. It can even affect how ships float in the water. Ships can float higher on water with not much density.
5. Affects Currents
Temperature also affects the ocean currents through density. The density over an ocean area can cause the water to move up and down. The water circulates through the difference in their temperature. Ocean currents are important for the ocean itself and the world. For instance, the North Atlantic current is responsible for maintaining the overall climate in Europe.
Read more: Effects of Ocean Currents on the Temperature
6. Affects Acidity
The acidity of the ocean water can increase at a quicker pace when the temperature is high. As a result, marine organisms may die and their habitat would no longer be suitable to support life. It could also lead to a faster rate of global warming as the ocean water can no longer absorb heat from the atmosphere as much as it used to.
See also: Social Impacts of Ocean Acidification
7. Make Atmospheric Simulation
With the help of the ocean temperature, scientists can make atmospheric model simulations. They are important in studying storms and global flows. The simulations can also provide more insight to the way the ocean works with the atmosphere.
8. Gives Information on El Nino-Southern Oscillation
The El Nino-Southern Oscillation cycle involves both El Nino and La Nina. They are responsible for causing warm and cold weather near the Equator. Though their occurrence tend to be irregular, scientists can have more information of their coming by knowing about the temperature of the ocean. They can use instruments and data for predicting the cycles as well.
9. Monitors Coral Bleaching
Coral bleaching can happen more often when the ocean water is acidic as well as hot. Coral reefs live best in 23°– 29° Celcius. Anything beyond that would damage most of them. They can withstand high temperature only for a very short time. That’s why temperature is so important in the ocean. The coral reefs depend on it to flourish.
10. Predicts Hurricane Formation
The temperature of the ocean water can cause hurricane and other kinds of tropical storms to form. Hurricane can happen when the temperature of the ocean reaches 26.5° Celcius. When the temperature goes higher than that, the hurricane will gain more strength and become severe.
11. Contributes to Upwelling
Upwelling is crucial in ocean. It helps to circulate nutrients so that every marine organisms can feed themselves. The varying temperature of the ocean water makes upwelling possible. There will always be a continuous exchange between the surface and the deep water of the ocean.
Also read: Effects of Ocean Upwelling
12. Supports Growth of Phytoplankton
Phytoplankton is one of the main producers in the marine ecosystem. A lot of marine organisms use them as a source of their nutrients. However, phytoplanktons are very sensitive to temperature. When the ocean water gets too cold or too hot, they won’t be optimal in their production. Thus, that would disrupt the entire marine ecosystem.
13. Maintains Fisheries
Fisheries are a huge aspect in people’s lives. They provide a food source rich in important nutrients to all parts of the world. Temperature maintains the fisheries that are operating. It ensures that the marine ecosystem has the suitable habitat for species to thrive.
14. Affects Bacteria and Virus Growth
Temperature changes in the ocean can actually encourage bacteria and virus to grow. The chances of that happening gets higher when the temperature becomes warmer. Species can become sick and eventually face extinction. Human lives face the same threat too. This can become a serious problem as some medicines are made with the help of the marine organisms themselves.
15. Causes Sea Level Changes
Ocean temperature can also cause sea level changes. Cooler temperature is able to maintain ice sheets. Meanwhile, warmer temperature might melt them off and that could make the level to increase. Changes in sea level can cause destructions to shorelines and create bigger storm surges. Rising sea level may even start to drown regions that lie on low lands.
The temperature of the ocean can give both good and bad impacts to the world. What matters is maintaining the right kind of temperature. It should not cause any harm or destruction in the future.