Anthropogenic Ocean Change: The Consummate Threat to Marine Mammal Welfare

Part of the Animal Welfare book series (AWNS, volume 17)


Global warming is the consummate conservation and animal welfare challenge of our time. It defies traditional conservation management models and requires we broaden traditional cause and effect time horizons. Continually rising concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) prolong retention of the sun’s energy before it escapes back into space—assuring that global temperatures must rise. Oceans have absorbed ~30% of anthropogenically emitted CO2 and over 90% of the heat trapped by the world’s enhanced greenhouse effect. Sea surface temperature and global ocean heat content have been rising accordingly. Along with rising temperatures, pH, oxygen saturation, salinity, and other aspects of ocean chemistry also are changing. Cumulative interactions among all of these symptoms of anthropogenic ocean change are and will continue to impact ocean biota. In this chapter, we summarize observed and projected anthropogenically driven ocean changes that have been and will continue to compromise marine mammal welfare.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Polar Bears InternationalBozemanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and PhysiologyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  3. 3.Research Applications LaboratoryNational Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderUSA

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