International global warming
Global warming could wipe out vast numbers of marine species, a new report from a international group of researchers finds. Climate change, including rising temperatures, could force many species to relocate their native habitats, investigators conclude.
Several varieties of fish are already migrating from their native habitats to cooler waters, as temperatures around the globe continue to rise.
The Oceans 2015 Initiative, a collaborative effort of climatologists and other researchers, studied how rising temperatures could affect marine life. Part of the focus of this study was to examine how such climatic changes could affect marine fisheries and economic development of the global ocean.
"From looking at the surface of the ocean, you can't tell much is changing. The oceans are closely tied to human systems and we're putting communities at high risk, " Rashid Sumaila, director of the University of British Columbia's Fisheries Economics Research Unit, said.
Climatologists compared virtual models of two different climate scenarios. One of these assumed the planet continues at the current rate, rising nine degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. The other predicted changes if global warming is held to 3.6 degrees by the end of the century. This is the cap announced by the Copenhagen Accord and that is likely to be adopted during climate talks in Paris to be held in December 2015. Researchers found that continuing at current rates will cause species to migrate 65 percent faster than if the proposed cap is met.
"All the species and services we get from the ocean will be impacted and everyone, including Canadians, who benefit from these goods and services are vulnerable. On a positive note, we still have options to substantially reduce these impacts now but the longer we wait the fewer and fewer options we have, " said William Cheung from the Nereus Program at the University of British Columbia.
As oceans warm, the heating reduces the amount of oxygen in the water and raises levels of carbon dioxide, placing further pressures on marine life.
Researchers stated that, in addition to limiting emissions of greenhouse gases, communities around the world that depend on fishing should institute training programs to direct people in other careers.