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  • 14 October, 2022

  • 5 Min Read

Ocean Currents and Global Warming

Ocean Currents and Global Warming

A recent study claims that the Galápagos Islands have been protected from global warming by cold ocean currents.

Key Study Findings

  • Combating Global Warming:
    The islands are shielded from the warming Pacific Ocean by a chilly, eastward equatorial ocean current, which has been strengthening for decades.

  • Since the early 1990s, the temperature of the water off the west coast of the Galápagos Islands has decreased by 0.5 degrees Celsius.
  • The chilly ocean current and global warming are at odds with one another. The ocean current is currently under control because the weather is getting colder every year.

Relevance of Event:

  • The Galápagos Islands should be cautiously optimistic in light of this phenomenon.

  • The Galápagos' flora and wildlife could help restore depleted ecosystems and preserve the area's fisheries.
  • In these Ecuadorian west coast seas, corals do not bleach and perish. In contrast to the neighbouring warm seas, the marine food chain does not suffer as a result.
  • The Galápagos could be considered as a prospective location to actually try to put some climate change mitigation efforts into because the region has so far been relatively unscathed by climate change.

Ocean Current's Importance

  • Water that is rich in nutrients: The force of the planet's rotation keeps the equatorial undercurrent in the Pacific Ocean linked to the equator.

  • Cold, nutrient-rich water circulates quickly from west to east underneath the ocean's surface.
  • When this water reaches the Galápagos Islands, some of it is driven to the surface.
  • The nutrient-rich water starts photosynthesis, which produces an abundance of food for many different kinds of creatures.
  • Coral reef stability: The cold ocean circulation produces a cooler, more stable environment for marine life, birds, and coral reefs that frequently live quite close to the poles.


  • Future of Current: If this current changes in the future, it could have seriously negative effects on the ecology.
  • Regulation of Overfishing: There is unquestionably a need for better protection for the island group from overfishing and the pressures of expanding ecotourism.
  • Human Pressures: There is a conflict between the human pressures on this place and the mechanisms that keep it alive. It's a valuable resource that needs to be safeguarded.
  • El Nio's negative effects are a threat to the island group. Every couple of years, it stops the cold current, which causes penguin numbers to disappear. The eastern tropical Pacific Ocean has unusually warm surface waters as a result of the climate pattern known as El Nio.

Climate Change Effects on Ocean Currents

  • Warm Freshwater Inflow: Ocean surface warming brought on by seawater evaporation, glacial and sea ice melting, and rising ocean temperatures could result in a warm freshwater inflow.

  • Blocking Ice Formation: This would hinder the growth of sea ice and stop saltier, colder, denser water from sinking.
  • Heat in the Atmosphere: The shallow, swift currents may ultimately restrict the amount of heat that the ocean can absorb, resulting in more of that heat staying in the atmosphere.
  • Global climate impacts could include sharp drops in Europe's temperatures as a result of a disruption of the Gulf Stream as a result of these events, which have the potential to halt or even stop the ocean conveyor belt.
  • Marine bacteria and species may be exposed to shallower, hotter, and quicker surface waters, which could have an impact on marine biodiversity.


  • In order to balance out the uneven distribution of solar energy reaching Earth's surface, ocean currents can control the temperature on a worldwide scale.

  • Regional temperatures would be more extreme without ocean currents, with extremely hot temperatures near the equator and icy temperatures toward the poles, and considerably less of Earth's land would be livable.


Source: Down To Earth

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