Oceans – Marine life decimated by climate change
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According to an international study published on 11 June 2019 in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, the oceans will lose 17% (or 1/6) of their marine life by 2100 if climate change continues at the current rate. Combining six different computer models, projections estimate that with each 1°C warming of ocean waters, the total mass of marine animals is expected to decrease by 5%, without taking fishing into account. The potential consequences are worrying both for ocean biodiversity and for global food security, especially for populations that depend directly on ocean resources.
While ocean warming is the main factor in this catastrophic decline, climate change is also causing acidification and loss of oxygen that is harmful to marine life. The largest animals will be the hardest hit, while the already hot tropical regions will suffer the greatest losses. The study calculates that if we can significantly reduce our carbon emissions, this 17% loss of ocean biomass at the end of the century could be limited to 5%.
For more information:
Global ensemble projections reveal trophic amplification of ocean biomass declines with climate change – PNAS on June 25, 2019