Life on Earth is completely dependent upon oceans. All changes that occur in the oceans influence the geologic ecosystems on continental land, affecting the atmosphere and climate. Much of life on Earth is contained within the oceans. The oceans act as natural deposits of residues produced in the continent which is carried by rivers and winds, they also absorb great quantities of gases and chemicals present in the atmosphere. How the oceans affect life on Earth is a big environmental issue nowadays.
The oceans of Earth comprise approximately 71% of the planet´s surface. Because the ocean is a vast component of Earth´s hydrosphere, it affects considerably the processes on the planet. Oceanic evaporation is the source of most rainfall and ocean temperatures regulate climate and wind patterns that affect life inland. The ocean is the habitat of approximately 235,000 marine species, although, there could be more than 2 million species in the unexplored ocean´s depths. According to oceanfdn.org, one out of six people on Earth depend on fish as a source of protein.
Much of the emissions of CO2 into the air do not stay in the atmosphere, but are deposited into the ocean. The storing of CO2 into the oceans affects the chemistry of sea water, making it more acidic. The acidification of the ocean today is at a faster rate than what the fossil records indicate over the past 65 million years. According to a study, current ocean acidification is taking place at ten times the rate that preceded the mass extinction 55 million years ago. This could extremely affect many marine species, especially the ones inhabiting the deep ocean. It is believed that the Earth would be much warmer if it wasn´t for the massive uptake of CO2 into the oceans.
The extra hydrogen in low-PH seawater reacts with calcium carbonate, converting it into other compounds that animals can´t use to build their shells, affecting their ecosystems. Coral reefs are made of calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs flourish in the shallow areas of the tropical waters at the equator, creating a diverse region that supports approximately one quarter of the ocean´s biodiversity. Without the main resource from which to build this diverse biodiversity, many ocean species may become extinct, affecting the food chain cycle. This would affect people living in coastal areas and who depend on fish to feed.
The ocean currents are driven by variations in the water´s density. These variations are determined by temperature (thermo) and salinity (haline) in a process known as thermohaline circulation. Ocean current measurements are crucial for commercial, shipping and fishing. Predicting ocean currents, people can safely navigate through coastal waters and merchandise can arrive on schedule for distribution on land. Oil cleanup operations can use current information to predict where hazardous material will end up, as well.
The ocean influences most climate and weather patterns, and without the ocean, weather would become intolerably hot, and the nights would become extremely cold. The ocean naturally recycles water and air throughout the planet. According to the ocean foundation, the ocean absorbs almost 50% of CO2 produced by humans; it produces more oxygen than the rainforests; and more than 80% of drinkable water comes from the oceans.