Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mere Coincidence, No Doubt

The Independent of the United Kingdom notes

Scientists have discovered that the phytoplankton of the oceans has declined by about 40 per cent over the past century, with much of the loss occurring since the 1950s. They believe the change is linked with rising sea temperatures and global warming.

Phytoplankton is affected by the amount of nutrients that well up from the bottom of the oceans. In the North Atlantic phytoplankton "blooms" naturally in spring and autumn when ocean storms bring nutrients to the surface.

One effect of rising sea temperatures has been to make the water column of some regions nearer the equator more stratified, with warmer water sitting on colder layers of water, making it more difficult for nutrients to reach the phytoplankton at the sea surface.

Warmer seas in tropical regions are also known to have a direct effect on limiting the growth of phytoplankton, which Dr. Daniel Boyce, the lead researcher of the study conducted at Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University, terms “the basis of life in the oceans.” He adds, ominously, “phyoplankton is the fuel on which marine ecosystems run. A decline of phytoplankton affects everything up the food chain, including humans.”

Financial Times has reported the US National Oceans and Atmospheric Administration, using new data, unavailable to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change when it issued its report in 2007. This

study drew on up to 11 different indicators of climate, and found that each one pointed to a world that was warming owing to the influence of greenhouse gases, said Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring at the UK's Met Office, one of the agencies participating.

Seven indicators were rising, he said. These were: air temperature over land, sea-surface temperature, marine air temperature, sea level, ocean heat, humidity, and tropospheric temperature in the "active-weather" layer of the atmosphere closest to the earth's surface. Four indicators were declining: Arctic sea ice, glaciers, spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere, and stratospheric temperatures.

Mr Stott said: "The whole of the climate system is acting in a way consistent with the effects of greenhouse gases." "The fingerprints are clear," he said. "The glaringly obvious explanation for this is warming from greenhouse gases."

The NOAA found that the January-June 2010 period was the warmest on record for combined land and water temperature. It has observed that June was the 304th consecutive month in which the average worldwide temperature was higher than the 20th century average, a streak which began in March of 1985.

Warmer seas in tropical areas depress the growth of phyoplankton, which has declined by 40% over the last hundred years. All eleven relevant indices of climate are associated with increasing temperature caused by greenhouse gases. And the World Meterological Organization has concluded each of the last three decades was warmer than the one before, with the last decade the warmest since at least the 1880s.

Hey, we get it. Concede the human origin of warming, change must be made by corporations, cutting into the enormous profits of the behemoths which are the raison d'etre of the Repub Party. But conservatives, who value nothing more than simplicity, ought to understand: when it is winter in the northern hemisphere, it is summer in the southern hemisphere; the earth is round; and the earth is getting warmer, largely from human activity.

1 comment:

Dan said...

come on. it's just part of the earth's natural reduction in plankton cycle. it happens ever few centuries. All we need to do is start dumping large quantities of store fish food into the oceans to keep everything good.

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