What’s Going on in the Ocean?

Ocean – 97 percent of Earth’s water is located in the ocean, which plays an important role in weather and climate, as well as providing food and shelter for many animals. The ocean is also a vital resource for human activities, including transportation and recreation. While we know a great deal about the ocean, most of it remains unexplored and mysterious.

Oceans are salty and full of nutrients that are essential for life. Some animals, like coral and jellyfish, can thrive only in salty waters, while others, such as whales, dolphins, and sharks, cannot survive without it. Scientists are working to understand the complex interactions that occur between these and other factors in the ocean to make sure it continues to provide a home for many different species of plants and animals.

The oceans cover about two thirds of the planet’s surface and are a vital source of food and water for millions of people, as well as providing a habitat for thousands—and potentially millions—of organisms. There are more living things in the ocean than on any other planet. The vast majority of them are microorganisms, such as algae and bacteria. However, there are also larger organisms, such as fish, mammals, and birds, and some reptiles and amphibians.

Scientists measure the amount of salt in the ocean by measuring sea surface salinity (SSS). The SSS is influenced by the geographic distribution of precipitation and evaporation, with regions dominated by rainfall having lower SSS than those characterized by high evaporation, such as tropical and polar zones. The oceans are also affected by changes in the temperature of the surface and deep layers, which can lead to a decrease in SSS.

In addition, the acidity of ocean water is increasing. This is a direct result of the increase in carbon dioxide levels in the air caused by humans’ burning fossil fuels. When carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean, it reacts with water to form carbonic acid, which can be broken down into hydrogen ions. The concentration of these ions determines the pH of ocean water, with higher values indicating less acidity.

In addition, the SSS is impacted by volcanic and hydrothermal activity. The recent discovery of methane in the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean is a major concern because it is thought to be produced by this process. These new observations will help scientists monitor and better understand the impacts of methane on the global SSS. This information will be particularly important if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

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