Oceans Donate Lives
Every second breath we do, we owe the sea. But we have unbalanced our last great common property ourselves.
Our hunger for fish, the greed for oil and gas on the seabed, pollution, and littering have left their mark. For decades, Greenpeace has been documenting the ongoing destruction of the largest habitat on our planet and is fighting for the recovery and protection of the oceans worldwide.
Water Is Life
Superficially, about 70 percent of the earth is covered by oceans. If you include their volume at an average of 3,900 meters sea depth, they represent over 90 percent of the total living space on our planet. For all terrestrial species, the oceans are the elixir of life: plant plankton in the oceans produces up to three-quarters of the oxygen in our atmosphere through photosynthesis. The microscopic algae are also the food source for all life in the sea. They are at the beginning of the food chain.
Habitat Full Of Contrasts
Most plants and animals in the sea need sunlight and therefore live in the upper water layers. With increasing depth, the light decreases and the pressure increases. At a depth of 1,000 meters, it is pitch-dark, and the pressure of the water column is 101 bar. That is, on the body of a living being – or on components of a deep-sea oil platform – weighs a weight of 101 kilograms per square centimeter. Even under such extreme conditions, a diverse life still exists. Under the motto “need is inventive”, the deep-sea frogfish provides a good example. Since he can not see potential prey, he attracts them with a trick: Above his mouth sits an Art Angel with a luminous organ made of bioluminescent bacteria. Attracted by the strange light in the darkness.
Oceans Regulate The Climate
Water has the ability to absorb large amounts of heat and release it only slowly and evenly. This is how the oceans balance extreme temperature fluctuations on Earth. From the solar energy that reaches our planet day by day, the oceans absorb twice as much as land or air. Depending on the intensity and duration of solar radiation and depending on how much freshwater the rivers carry into the sea, the temperature and salinity of certain regions of the oceans will vary. Temperature and salinity, in turn, determine the density of the water.
Cold salty water has a high density, so it is relatively heavy and sinks in depth. Warm water is lighter and stays on the surface. This creates strong upheavals and currents in the sea. Like gigantic assembly lines, warm and cold masses of water constantly circle the earth and influence the climate on all continents.