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A new study warns that climate change “velocity” in the deep ocean — the rate at which species’ range shifts in order to remain at their preferred temperature — is greater than at the surface even if we mitigate climate change, and particularly at depths below 600 and 3000 feet. Surface warming is not expected to change nearly as much as the warming at deeper layers in the ocean, causing different velocities in different layers of the ocean.
Why This Matters: The differences in water temperature increases at different depths in the water column could cause major disruptions in food webs as species that rely on each other for survival will have to adapt at different velocities, thus having major impacts on the distribution and abundance of ocean wildlife. The overall impacts could be catastrophic because marine life in the deep ocean will be threatened increasingly through the end of the century due to warming regardless of our actions now. Which makes it all the more important that globally we protect special areas in the ocean from other threats like mining and overfishing. And we must anticipate species shifts before creating marine parks in the high seas so they actually can protect critical species and habitat.
Why This Matters: This may ultimately about all that oil and gas, but the conflict today is overfishing. China continues to use its military to prevent Vietnamese fishing boats from harvesting in the disputed areas.
We know that rising ocean temperatures are causing fish stocks to migrate to cooler waters, and now we have new evidence as to why. A study by German scientists found that juvenile fish and fish that are ready to mate are especially sensitive to changes in water temperature, and as a result, up to 60 percent of all species may be forced to leave their traditional spawning areas as waters warm.
Why This Matters: Fish populations need functional habitat to survive and procreate.
By Jean Flemma and Miriam Goldstein Historically, the ocean has been overlooked in the climate debate. That makes no sense. Ignoring the 71 percent of the planet that creates more than half the oxygen we breathe and has absorbed 90 percent of the excess heat created by climate change can hardly lead to a complete […]
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