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Warming of Indian Ocean

Why is it in the news?

  • A study titled ‘Future projections for the tropical Indian Ocean’ predicts accelerated warming of Indian Ocean

Key findings of the study

  • Climate models project accelerated warming of the Indian Ocean (IO) at a rate of 1.7°C–3.8°C per century from 2020–2100, compared to 1.2°C per century from 1950–2020.
  • The Arabian Sea, in the northwestern IO, is expected to experience maximum warming.
  • Marine heatwaves are forecasted to increase drastically from 20 days per year to 220–250 days per year, potentially pushing the tropical IO into a near-permanent heatwave state.
  • In a high emission scenario, the study predicts that the minimum average temperature in the IO basin will remain above 28°C by 2100, compared to 26°C-28°C during 1980-2020.

Impact of Warming Indian Ocean

  • Increased heat content contributes to thermal expansion, leading to sea level rise.
  • Marine heatwaves may cause habitat destruction, including coral bleaching, seagrass destruction, and loss of kelp forests, as well as rapid intensification of cyclones.
  • Frequency of extreme Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events is expected to increase. Positive IOD brings warm waters to the Western IO, while Negative IOD pushes warm waters to the Eastern IO. Positive IOD favours rainfall in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Other Impacts includes increased ocean acidification and decline in net primary productivity.

Ways for mitigating impacts

  • Reducing global carbon emissions.
  • Investing in resilient infrastructure.
  • Conserving marine ecosystems through sustainable practices.
  • Enhancing forecasting capabilities.
  • Promoting adaptive agriculture for food security.

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