Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Climate Change: New Ocean

Wired Blog: Irreversible Ocean Changes
Telegraph: Mutant Jelly Fish
NPR: Global warming is irreversible


The Caribbean, the hot bed of powerful hurricanes, is also leading the way in new species adapted to the warmer ocean. Reduction in fish stock is not the only problem. A whole new ecosystem unsuitable for human consumption may be the real problem.


But if countries continue to burn fossil fuels until they've become prohibitively expensive — the A2, or "business-as-usual" scenario — then atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations will increase until the century's end. Planetary temperature could rise by 12 degrees Fahrenheit within that time, triggering oceanic warming of at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit over the next several thousand years. Current ocean ecosystems would be unable to sustain themselves.

"Oxygen minimum zones could expand by 10 or 20 times. And the ocean would, in addition to having low oxygen, have a very different ecosystem," said Shaffer, lead author on the study published Sunday in Nature Geoscience. "It would affect the ability of the ocean to produce fish, shellfish, the types of things that people eat. It's not just oxygen: it's a switch in ecosystem structure."


Marine biologists say the jellyfish numbers are rocketing because they need not die.

Dr Maria Miglietta of the Smithsonian Tropical Marine Institute said: "We are looking at a worldwide silent invasion."

The jellyfish are originally from the Caribbean but have spready all over the world.

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