In a NASA study, scientists have concluded that due to global warming there is a reduction in the oceans primary food supply. This poses a potential threat to fisheries and ecosystems.
When the climate warms, there is a drop in the abundance of the ocean’s phytoplankton, the tiny plants that feed krill, fish and whales.
Phytoplankton are the microscopic plant life that zooplankton and other marine animals eat, essentially the granule crop of the world’s oceans.
After comparing 10 years of global ocean satellite data with the records of earth’s changing climate, it was found that with the increase in climate temperature marine plant life declines. And when climate temperature declines marine plant life becomes more productive.
Gene Carl Feldman, oceanographer and study co-author of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt. Md. said,
The evidence is pretty clear that the Earth’s climate is changing dramatically, and in this NASA research we see a specific consequence of that change. It is only by understanding how climate and life on Earth are linked that we can realistically hope to predict how the Earth will be able to support life in the future.
The changes occur because warmer surface temperatures lead to changes in the flow of ocean currents that deliver nutrient-rich water from the cooler depths to the surface. About half of the production generated by the world’s living organisms is done by phytoplankton, microscopic green plants which operate in the top 100 to 200 metres of the ocean where light levels are high enough for photosynthesis.
Duncan Purdie, a plankton expert at the National Oceanography centre in Southampton said, “Almost the whole food chain of the open ocean depends on these plants.’ Every day oceans draw more than 100 million tonnes of CO2 and with reduced phytoplankton, the world’s oceans will absorb less carbon dioxide and increase Earth’s primary global warming gas.
The oceans are currently warming at about 0.2C per decade on average and scientists expect that the trend will speed up. Scientists predict that global temperatures will rise between two and six degrees Celsius by the end of the century, mainly due to carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.
Consequences of global warming:
Hurricanes are becoming more intense even more disastrous than Katrina.
Increasing temperature kills swathes of coral reefs. Scientists say if global warming projections are correct, the Great Barrier Reef will lose 95% of its living coral by 2050.
Rising CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere acidify oceans and one third of CO2 released by burning of fossil fuels is absorbed by the oceans.
A comprehensive study last month by former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern found that acting now to tackle climate change could cost one percent of global economic output but figure can rise 20-fold if action is delayed.
The studies have been revealing the consequences of global warming and scientists are doing their work. Today everyone is aware of the dreadful results that can occur due to global warming but still few efforts are made by the society and worldwide organizations to control global warming. It’s clear that humans are causing climate change and there is need to take actions to shrink human effects on climate.