Humans are changing the oceans at a global scale and the changes are disrupting ecosystems and food webs. Since we all are connected to the oceans, we have a responsibility to act together to find solutions based on the best available information. It matters not only because of the direct benefits ocean resources provide for humanity but because just as the oceans affect weather around the world, so do our actions around the world affect the oceans.
One of the major changes affecting oceans is often referred to as climate change. Global climate change is real and it’s happening now. From diminishing sea ice in the Arctic to New England’s low-lying coastal areas to the Great Barrier Reef, the planet has heated up over the past century. Carbon dioxide levels are rising, and sea levels are too. Animals and plants are disappearing from some places and appearing in others. The oceans are a leading indicator of climate change. Studying changes in the ocean helps us understand the causes and effects of a changing climate. As an ocean steward, the Aquarium supports important research on climate change that focuses on the oceans as a key source of climate information. Please join us in helping to protect our blue planet.
Special thanks to Dr. Steven Katona, whose 2008 paper "Scientific overview of global climate change and the marine environment" was prepared for the Aquarium and was the source material for much of this page. Other major sources are indicated in their respective sections.