Dead-Zones Appearing In World’s Oceans
by Alan Harten
January 26, 2009
According to research by a team of Danish scientists, our oceans are heading for a situation where some areas will become “dead zones” deprived of many forms of life.
Along coasts across the world the use of fertilisers is wreaking havoc on the world’s shallow ocean areas close to the shore.
Fertiliser that is spread on fields, perhaps along hundreds of miles of coast, eventually finds its way into the sea water killing off fish and other shallow water dwellers.
According to the researchers these are not the only dead zones in the world’s seas.
Many other areas are beginning to show signs of low levels of oxygen in the water, which ultimately kills off, fish, mammals and crustaceans.
Of the two types of low oxygen problems, the coastal fertilisation problem is the easiest to repair by simply stopping the fertilisers from reaching coastal waters.
The other problem is caused by increased water and air temperatures as a result of global warming, which cannot be controlled without eliminating the problems that are causing the warming of the oceans.
According to the calculations the levels of CO2 will reach around 550 parts per million by 2100.
What that means is there will be 50% more CO2 in the world’s seas in just 90 years from now.
This will effectively reduce the amount of sea creatures, simply because they will not be able to “breath”
The scientists say that these events are already taking place on the West Coast of North America and South America, with huge numbers of sea creatures dying off as a direct result of the increase in water temperature.
The researchers used complex climate modelling that showed that these dead zones continue to expand, becoming much larger in area and affecting not just shallow coastal waters, but also reaching out into deeper oceans as the water temperature rises.
The scientists also believe that this is not the first time water temperatures have caused ocean creatures to die off in huge numbers.
250 million years ago ocean temperature increases lead to what are known as extinction events where huge numbers of species simply disappear practically overnight.
Not only does the warmer water kill off sea creatures, it also eats up nutrients straight out of the water, changing the chemical and biological make-up and affecting basic life forms such as plankton, which are at the bottom of the essential food chain.
Such changes will cause irreparable damage to ocean life and will have a knock-on effect that will be felt on the land.
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