Thursday, January 21, 2016

Global Warming Can Turn Indian Ocean Into Ecological Desert, Say Scientists

[Tech Times] The Indian Ocean is an ecological desert in the works, warned scientists who sounded the alarm not just on overfishing but also on the pernicious effects of global warming.
Overfishing is not the sole cause for the lowered catch in the region – food sources for fish are increasingly becoming scarce because of global warming.
Warming in the Indian Ocean has been decreasing phytoplankton by up to 20 percent, revealed Roxy Mathew Koll, a scientist working at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. Along with other scientists, Koll put out related research in December.
Rising water temperatures appear to have been decreasing the number of phytoplankton – microscopic plants located at the base of the marine food chain serve as food for fish – for more than six decades now.
This scarcity of phytoplankton is feared to affect the whole food chain and likely turn the Indian Ocean into an “ecological desert,” according to Koll.
This situation will hound food security not just in the region but also international fish markets that get their supply from such countries.
Fifty-four-year-old Anslem Silva, for instance, has been fishing for 40 years from a harbor on the west coast of Sri Lanka. However, for about five years now, it has been tough for him to fill his boat.
“Where there were fish for decades, now there is very little. It is strange, but all of us have been noticing that.”
Waters in sections of the Indian Ocean have warmed over the past century by 1.2 degrees Celsius or 34.16 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to a slower integration of surface water and nutrient-dense deeper waters. This has barred nutrients from getting to plankton, which mostly find themselves in surface waters. Read More