Heat Waves in the Sea Have the Same Effect as Forest Fires

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The precipitous rises in temperatures are increasingly intense, severe and long in the seas. And its effects are devastating on marine grasses and coral reefs.

Heat waves affect not only the earth’s surface, but also life in the oceans. The precipitous rises in temperatures are increasingly intense, severe and long in the seas. And its effects are devastating on marine grasses , coral reefs, algae, plankton and the entire food chain.

A study conducted by the Marine Biological Association of Plymouth and published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change investigates as never before in this phenomenon, from 116 reports around the world and 8 specific cases of marine heat waves in the last three decades, including the one known as “Ningaloo Niño” that set a record in the coastal strip of Australia in 2011.

Heat Waves in the Sea Have the Same Effect as Forest Fires

“Heat waves in the sea are like fires caused by high temperatures in the forests,” biologist Dan Smale, author of the research, told The Guardian . “The effect they have on life underwater is similar: seaweeds and bunches of kelp kelp die before our eyes, and in a matter of weeks and months they completely disappear from the coasts.”

The total number of accumulated days of heat waves in the seas has increased by 50% in the last 30 years. Between 2014 and 2016 they were tripled, with a special intensity in the South Atlantic and the Pacific. The average temperature on the surface of the oceans is 17 degrees, but in heat waves it can exceed 25 or even 30 degrees.

Throughout the last century, it is estimated that the increase in temperatures in the oceans was only 0.1 degrees, in contrast to the rise of 0.6 degrees in the earth’s surface. Warming has accelerated, however, so far this century : in the last five years there have been the highest temperatures at sea since there are records.

Concern over the warming and acidification of the oceans is now compounded by concerns about the effects of marine heat waves that can cause extreme temperatures for five or more days in a row.

“Its adverse impact is felt in a broad spectrum of organisms, from plankton to invertebrates, fish, mammals and seabirds,” says biologist Dan Smale. “Some species can swim to cooler waters in theory, but heat waves hit the oceans in very large areas and sometimes faster than the movement of the fish.”

The side effects have already been felt on land and affect human life, as was the case with the wave of high temperatures that shook the western Atlantic in 2012, which caused severe damage to lobster populations and created tensions. border between the United States and Canada.

“Unless we take urgent action, in the future there will be less fish in the oceans , with dramatic changes in their ecological structure and serious implications for humans who depend on marine life,” warns Eva Plaganyi, of the atmospheric and oceanic organization CSIRO in Australia.

 

Source: El Mundo