Ocean protection a long-term need

The story “Oceans trapping heat at alarming rate” in the Jan. 20 edition says man-made heat absorbed by oceans has doubled since 1997. It is important to recognize that warming the oceans is by itself a significant threat.

It deprives nations of their fisheries by driving fish stocks toward the cooler waters of the poles, melts the ice shelves that slow the flow of ice sheets to the sea, raises sea levels by increasing the thermal expansion of the oceans, and is harmful to coral.

According to oceanographer Matthew England: “You can’t keep pumping heat into the ocean, shoveling it in year after year, without eventually seeing that heat interacting again with the atmosphere and warming the atmosphere.”

So far the oceans have buffered us from the worst effects of climate change by absorbing over 90 percent of the increased heat trapped by greenhouse gases. But in the long term, we are taking phenomenal risks for ourselves and future generations.

TERRY HANSEN
OAK CREEK, WISCONSIN

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.