Climate Detectives Projects 2019-2020

Project topic: Oceans

Project title: The quality of seawater

Team: Deep blue defenders

2019-2020   SEK International School Catalunya   La Garriga   Spain   8 Student’s age: 12-13

Summary of the project

We want to focus on the quality of seawater in Barcelona and the problems that these entails. The water on the beaches of Barcelona could be the cleanest ones, but now climate change is greatly affecting this area. Until July 15, 2017, 420.030 kg of waste and 23.63 m3 of floating rubbish were collected on the city’s beaches. In our sea, there has been an important decrease in algae species. Mediterranean coral reefs are severely affected. In addition, the increase in the temperature of the water caused by climate change has triggered the mortality rates of Posidonia.

Main results

INCREASE IN THE TEMPERATURE OF THE COASTS OF BARCELONA The average water temperature of Barcelona’s coasts has risen 1.55ºC in the last 66 years, at a rate of 0.23ºC for every 10 years. By seasons, in summer this increase has been most noticeable (0.34 º C per decade), an increase that doubles the statistics in winter (0.17 º C for every 10 years). Sea level rise is 3.6 centimeters for every 10 years in the last 26 years. Sea temperature has also increased, 0.3 ° C per decade since 1974. At observatories the presence of clouds has decreased to the point that during the last few years there have been between 300 and 400 more hours of sunshine per year than there used to be in the 1970s. About an hour more of sunshine each day . In conclusion, it can be deduced that something is changing in consequence of climate change, caused by humans. As you can see the temperature has already risen 1.5 degrees, therefore if we continue like this we could end up destroying many ecosystems. GLOBAL INCREASE IN TEMPERATURE Marine ecosystems are very sensitive to the minimum change in temperature. In the oceans, the temperature has increased 0.1º C but this change has reached 700 meters deep, where most of the flora and fauna are found. The change in temperature at the surface has been 0.7ºC, and the number could go up if we do not stop climate change. ACIDIFICATION OF THE OCEAN Acidification is the decrease of pH in the oceans. This process occurs when the temperature or CO2 in the atmosphere increases. The warming of the seawater will provoke coral bleaching, which will eventually lead to the death of many seaweed and would stop the development of many species. If this continues, many species that depend on coral reefs will become extinct. If these species go extinct, all the other species that depend on them will also become extinct and so on, until our turn arrives. We are destroying the planet, and if we do not do something about it, we will eventually kill ourselves.

Actions to help lessen the problem

Our action is to carry out a garbage collection campaign on the most affected beach, preventing all the bathers’ garbage from ending up in the water. (This activity could not be carried out due to the Covid-19 pandemic) Create posters that inform and raise public awareness of this problem. Collect all our research work in a blog to spread the word. We believe that disinformation causes inactivity, and that acting locally can promote changes that contribute to improving a global level.

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