The Effects of Global Warming on Marine Life

Discussion in 'The Octopus' Den' started by ChrisWheeler, Apr 16, 2005.

  1. ChrisWheeler

    ChrisWheeler Larval Mass Registered

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    Hey, everyone, I just wondering if anyone could give any suggestions as where to look specifically for some relatively easy-to-make-sense-of data and information on the effects of global warming on marine life in general. I have the basic knowledge and stuff of the greenhouse effect/global warming, but any help there would be welcomed, as well. I have to do a final paper on this chosen topic for my conservation class, and although my instructor has given me some stuff on coral bleaching, it's pretty hard to decipher (or, maybe it's just the end of the year stuff catching up and I'm just getting freaked). I've done a google search, but there's SO MUCH stuff, that it's a little overwhelming. Thanx!

    (For a little background on what I'm doing, I'm actually a music performance major, but my 2nd love is marine life, so I'm taking a conservation course that fits into my critical studies requirments.)
     
  2. erich orser

    erich orser Architeuthis Supporter Registered

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    Chris,

    In the same Marine Conservation Forum, check out "Wired Article on temperature and squid size". There's some good stuff on polar melt disrupting the conveyer belt. This could have nasty consequences for the entire planet!
     
  3. Melissa

    Melissa Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter

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    Climate change and retreating glaciers have been in the news recently, with rising surface temperatures of water. Predictably, polar ice melts with temperature increases, and less predictably, humboldts have been recorded further north this year than has been witnessed before.

    Considering the ice melt and climate change, are there any ideas or any data on deep water temperatures? Has anything been recorded as yet?

    Melissa
     
  4. main_board

    main_board Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    Something that I found interesting: scientists have proven that the oceans are getting more acidic. With increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the oceans were always thought of as a sort of sponge that could absorb almost half of it and keep our planet alive for a little longer. Now we know that though the ocean is doing this, it is doing so at a cost. With increasing oceanic acidity, I imagine anyone who's every kept saltwater fish or cephs can guess the impending doom it spells for all those who call the sea home. It's not really the same issue as global warming, but they're both caused by the same evil, CARBON DIOXIDE!!! :mad: MUA HA Hahahahaha!!! :mad:

    Cheers~!
     
  5. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    I was just discussing this with an oceanographer/micropaleontologist in my department today. He sees the increased acidity dissolving seafloor carbonates, perhaps decompressing and dissociating methane hydrates. However he works with the P/E boundary and likes to make sure everyone knows the importance of it, regardless of what bleakness it requires.

    Dan
     
  6. TPOTH

    TPOTH Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    There is also the following theory that yes an increase in temperature will melt some of the ice caps but there will then be more water in the atmosphere and so (so the story goes) more cloud cover... hence less of the sun's energy warming up the planet (due to direct shading and an increase in refraction/albedo).
    All in all, a global warming could actually lead us to a "snowball Earth" state. Can't remember if that was the theory developed in "The day after tomorrow" (then again, if that 's the case, that's my whole argument shot down ... "See? it was in that movie!" :roll: :grin:
    I believe the answer(s) would lie with the state of the "conveyor belt" as global warning kicks in... As it stands, water warms up at the surface/equator/whereever it's warm, travels north/south, cools down and sinks, pushing colder water masses further down. Cold/deep water is pushed along so until it rises up and warms up again (see picture... because i think i made a mess of that explanation)

    I can't begin to list the effects of GW on such a system. But if there is disurption then we're likely to see a whole series of related events such as (not a prediction :wink:) a disruption of the major currents, immobile water masses, dramatic increase of ice cover, increased evaporation around the equator, more clouds, less heat....

    We have two theories: one says that global warming will destroy the Earth, the ice caps will melt, the sea will engulf us all and the other that somehow, by a series of positive and negative feedback loops, the situation will resolve itself, with global temperatures hovering a certain equilibrium. Now how long until such equilibrium is reached and how close it will be to the current (deteriorating) one, not a clue :wink:

    TPOTH
     
  7. Melissa

    Melissa Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter

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    TPOTH (how do you pronounce that?),

    Thank you for posting the currents chart! How warm is the warm surface current - what's the temperature range for warm here? I don't want to think about the temperature of the deep, salty, cold current.

    The article that got me thinking about glacier retreat is in last week's New Yorker (April 25, 2005 for those who want to read it). The cover is a cartoon of tall buildings under water, with fish and what looks to me like a few dolphins swimming by. Makes me think of the Valley of Whales in the Egyptian desert - Phil posted about the whale skeleton just found there in the Bits and Pieces thread. So climate change is not new, but, thinking of the various "extinctions," drastic change may not be good for people.

    Thinking in terms of geologic eras, how normal or aberrant is the current global climate that is so hospitable to humans?

    Melissa
     
  8. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    Humans can survive without considerable technology in a variety of climates--from the jungles to the frozen tundra of Siberia. Thus its a hard question because humans could probably survive most of what nature could throw at us. For reference, the last ice age ended about 10-12 thousand years ago, at least it did here in Wisconsin.

    Dan
     
  9. TPOTH

    TPOTH Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    The Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is by its very nature in a constant state of flux. The best you can hope for is a snapshot at a specific time (see attached pic, snapshot for 24/04/2005). What's important to remember is that there is a dynamic side to such a map, it's not the same water mass that stays at a constant(ish) high temperature south of India. It's likely that the water divers are enjoying in Indonesia at this moment has been round through the deep sea quite a few times.

    No climate change is indeed not new and is very much a matter of perspective, we humans have a very limited conception of time. Our time as rulers of the Earth is nothing more than the blink of an eye. Went digging on the net for a few minutes and came up with the other two pictures i've attached. temeratures.gif goes back a few thousands years, showing that on that scale our current warm climate is more an anomaly than the norm (on average about 6 degrees less than the current global temperature). temperature2.gif is more of a close-up (last 120yrs) and shows a rather dramtatic increase in temperature... however the scale (both time and temperature range) is very different. For all intents and purposes, it appears that global warming could be the only reason we haven't hit a new Ice Age yet. And, just so we're clear, I'm not saying burning fossil fuels and poking holes in the ozone layer is good for us ;) Our atmospheric/oceanic system is extremely complex and I don't believe anyone can accurately predict the outcome of such wide-ranging changes (see daily forecasts and "butterfly effect").

    TPOTH
     
  10. snafflehound@work

    snafflehound@work O. bimaculoides Registered

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    How Did Humans First Alter Global Climate?; March 2005; by William F. Ruddiman; 8 page(s)

    The scientific consensus that human actions first began to have a warming effect on the earth's climate within the past century has become part of the public perception as well. With the advent of coal-burning factories and power plants, industrial societies began releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into the air. Later, motor vehicles added to such emissions. In this scenario, those of us who have lived during the industrial era are responsible not only for the gas buildup in the atmosphere but also for at least part of the accompanying global warming trend. Now, though, it seems our ancient agrarian ancestors may have begun adding these gases to the atmosphere many millennia ago, thereby altering the earth's climate long before anyone thought.
    New evidence suggests that concentrations of CO2 started rising about 8,000 years ago, even though natural trends indicate they should have been dropping. Some 3,000 years later the same thing happened to methane, another heat-trapping gas. The consequences of these surprising rises have been profound. Without them, current temperatures in northern parts of North America and Europe would be cooler by three to four degrees Celsius--enough to make agriculture difficult. In addition, an incipient ice age--marked by the appearance of small ice caps--would probably have begun several thousand years ago in parts of northeastern Canada. Instead the earth's climate has remained relatively warm and stable in recent millennia.


    from sciam.com

    We've been at it for 8,000 years - but it's the last century or so that has really picked up the pace.
     
  11. erich orser

    erich orser Architeuthis Supporter Registered

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    I've been hearing recently about how a global rise in water temperature might have led to past mass extinctions by releasing huge amounts of methane that were stored in a frozen state in the ocean floor. As currently there are vast deposits of frozen methane being studied down there, is this potentially something else to think about? The temperature change that previously released these methane deposits was evidently only a few degrees.
     
  12. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    I was thinking about the thermohaline effect here...

    Water is a funny compound, actually. It has a pretty high specific heat (1 Kilocalorie per gram degree Celcius at standard temperature and pressure - or one nutritional standard Caloire, if you prefer that measure), which means that it can store a LOT of energy. Why doesn't the UK, considering its considerable latitude, have as extreme winters as, say, Greenland? The North Atlantic current carries a lot of warm water to that region, and all the benefits of the weather systems with it. All in all, from what I know about the climate in the UK, its much like where I live.

    Well, water's properties get weirder as the pressure and temperature increase. A drop in salinity from, say, the melting runoff from the polar ice caps, would also be a serious kick in the butt here. Change the salinity, you change the density. That might affect the energy conductivity of the water and therefore make the current warmer or colder depending on the surrounding effects. Global warming would then have the nasty effect of not being so "warm" after all. It would have a bad, bad effect on the weather.

    More later when I'm more coherent....


    John
     
  13. snafflehound@work

    snafflehound@work O. bimaculoides Registered

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    That's why we say "climate change" for preference over "global warming".
     
  14. Steve O'Shea

    Steve O'Shea Colossal Squid Supporter

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  15. Tintenfisch

    Tintenfisch Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

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    I like to think of it as 'Teapot-H.' :roll:
     
  16. n82rboy

    n82rboy Blue Ring Registered

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    thanks

    Love having a site like this to jump onto and read.. thanks everyone!
    I appreciate the time and effort you all put into your posts..
    -Paul
     
  17. erich orser

    erich orser Architeuthis Supporter Registered

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    You must not read a lot of mine. :wink:
     
  18. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Cool... I just walked outside, smoked a cigar, and sprayed two cans of Hairspray into the ozone.
     
  19. TPOTH

    TPOTH Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    *ponders the effects of "climate change" on R'lyeh*
    Soon near you: Take trips to the Sunken City! Enjoy the warmth of its waters and denizens! :lol:
    Maybe i can make some cash selling time-shares there...? Never know... in case that PhD thing goes belly up... (Sir! I'm working! Sir!)

    TPOTH
     
  20. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    There is always time to dream...isn't there?

    "cthulhu fhtaghn r'lyeh" after all.... :smile:
     

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