An Ocean of Mysteries

  • Peter Townsend Harris


This last chapter will review the strange and fickle (geologic) times we live in and the future of our oceans. In the next century, climate change will cause the demise of coral reefs, warmer and more acidic oceans, the poleward migration of species, melting of ice sheets, and thus at least 3 m (10 feet) of sea level rise. There is no such thing as “sustainable growth” in a finite ocean, and so we simply must choose which future we want to have for our civilization and our ocean. Further into the future, we can predict a new ice age beginning after around 10,000 years. Even further into the future, plate tectonics predicts a supercontinent “Pangea Proxima” will be formed in a few hundreds of million years. The oceans will evaporate when the sun becomes a “red giant” in around 1 billion years. The oceans remain largely unexplored, and many mysteries remain for future generations to solve.


Climate change Ocean warming Arctic sea ice Ocean acidification Sea level rise Coral bleaching Greenland ice sheet West Antarctic ice sheet Ecological tipping point Planetary boundaries Future ocean Pangea Proxima 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Townsend Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.GRID-ArendalArendalNorway

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