quote:Impacts on Oceans Need Urgent Attention in Climate Talks, Researchers Say A series of studies highlighting the impact of global warming on the oceans also urges climate negotiators to appreciate their huge role. BY PHIL MCKENNA, INSIDECLIMATE NEWS NOV 12, 2015
But despite these effects, which researchers say will intensify and spread inland as the planet warms, oceans have not been a focus of international climate negotiations. The authors of a set of five studies on oceans and climate change in a special issue of the journal Science published Thursday hope to change that.
"The dynamics of the ocean really are key to understanding how well we are going to be able to adapt to future climate change," said William Sydeman of the Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research and lead author of one of five papers. "Up until the last [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] assessment report, the oceans really have been largely neglected from the standpoint of impacts."
For some, the unknown impacts of climate change on the world's oceans are most worrisome. Scientists have a good understanding, for example, of how changes in ocean chemistry and water temperature are affecting small organisms at the bottom of the food chain, but it isn't clear how those changes will affect other marine life.
"We don't really have that connection yet to know exactly how that might transfer up the food chain," said Carol Anne Clayson, director of the Ocean and Climate Change Institute at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. "It could very easily transfer up the food chain in ways that are not going to be very beneficial for much of the human population."
"Twenty, 30 years ago, people were focused on warming, global warming, and then people started understanding this is going to affect precipitation, drought cycles, then people started understanding the regional variability," said Susan Lozier, an ocean scientist at Duke University and a co-author of the consensus statement. Now, she said, "I think there is a heightened awareness about the ocean, and considering the ocean covers three-fourths of this globe and plays a huge role in our climate system, I think we do want to alert politicians and the community at large about what is at stake."
There was just a Live Science link, in another thread, that covered the issue of past extinctions starting from the loss of species in an acidic ocean.
quote:Ocean acidification was only discovered recently when chemists and biologists sat down together and left the room vomiting because they realized the implications of what they had found. Acidification is not as well-know as climate change but it is a much bigger and potentially devastating problem.