Friday, July 30, 2010

'Severely disquieting'

'A century of phytoplankton decline suggests that ocean ecosystems are in peril.'

Tom Goreau says:
This report is correct, but as usual it is not new. In some of our papers on global satellite sea surface temperature trends published 5 years ago we point out that the places in the ocean we have identified that are warming faster than average are also the places where phytoplankton chlorophyll are decreasing, due to the thicker warm surface layer getting so thick and buoyant that upwelling of nutrients is being blocked, indeed we identified major fisheries regions where the upwelling has stopped and the fisheries are collapsing from the bottom up. There are also much smaller areas where the phytoplankton are increasing, and those are remote areas where the wind speed has increased, but the gains in those places are far less than the losses. This problem will increase with time.
P.S. 2 Aug: a colleague refers to SAHFOS which carries a link to a summary of recent research into the question of whether climate change and biodiversity of marine plankton in the North Atlantic could affect the carbon cycle.

A relevant paper by Goreau et al is here.

P.S. 6 Aug: Bill McKibben puts his spin on the findings.

No comments: