Rising Temperatures Could Kill 17% of Sea Life by Century's End

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that global warming could trigger the death of 17% of sea life by the end of the century. The study carries the name “Global ensemble projections reveal trophic amplification of ocean biomass declines with climate change.”

The research involves computer models because of the weakness of any individual study. To solve this, the writers of the paper set a methodology which took into account multiple models. “To address these single-model limitations, we present standardized ensemble projections from six global marine ecosystem models forced with two Earth system models and four emission scenarios with and without fishing.”

The range of potential death of sea life by the end of the century ranged from 5% to 17% based on the level of global warming. For every one degree Celsius of warmings (1.8 F) over the period, the rate of death rises 5%. The effects or projected fishing by humans was backed out of the numbers. The measure of total species living in the ocean is labeled “biomass.” The percentage drops in sea life are based on that measure. This sea life is becoming part of a list of the animals being driven into extinction.

One of the study’s authors William Cheung, of the University of British Columbia told the LA Times.”We will see a large decrease in the biomass of the oceans. There are already changes that have been observed.”

University of Victoria biology professor Julia Baum, commented on the study to the AP, “The potential ramifications of these predicted losses are huge, not just for ocean biodiversity, but because people around the world rely on ocean resources. Climate change has the potential to cause serious new conflicts over ocean resource use and global food security, particularly as human population continues to grow this century.” Some nations are a larger part of this problem than others, and in many cases are among the countries increasing CO2 emissions the fastest.

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