[Coral-List] Pipes hung in the sea ...
tim at midlandreefs.co.uk
Thu Oct 11 12:19:48 EDT 2007
I knew something was stirring in the depths of my memory about why
this project might have possibilities beyond Lovelock's basic idea.
Last year I came upon a piece of research that indicated that there
might be a problem regards the supply of nutrients utilised
phytoplankton as a result of higher surface water temperature.
If this is indeed the case, then there may be some utility to the
"pipes hung in the sea" after all.
I'm afraid I've not been able to find my source material but here's
the short news piece I generated for an aquarium magazine.
Your comments, as ever, would be gratefully received.
Climate Change and the Oceans.
There’s worrying evidence emerging from a recent study by the
University of Amsterdam that oceanic plankton could be endangered by
global warming. This study, led by Professor Jef Huisman, shows that
as the sea surface temperature rises due to climate change that there
will be a reduction in the upward movement of some of the nutrients
that phytoplankton rely on.
The mechanism behind this is that the higher temperature of the
surface water results in greater temperature stratification, this is
where the warmer water sits on the colder, deeper water, in distinct
layers, preventing the upwelling nutrients from reaching the
shallower water inhabited by phytoplankton. Although phytoplankton
are primarily reliant on sunlight for nutrition they do also need
various elements such as iron, nitrogen, and phosphorous to survive.
This study was recently published in Nature and reported how the
computer predictions of the impact of increased temperature were
compared against measurements taken in the Pacific Ocean and found to
provide an accurate model of how nutrient movement is being interrupted.
If these findings prove to be universally applicable across the
oceans of the world then the implications for the entire marine
environment are grave, given phytoplankton’s role at the heart of the
marine food web.
It’s not just the marine environment that would be endangered in this
situation. Phytoplankton take up huge amounts of carbon dioxide
during photosynthesis and play an extremely important part in locking
up this gas, which is one of the most important factors in climate
change. Without this greenhouse gas being sequestered by
phytoplankton, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would rise,
hastening global warming.
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