Year 3, Month 10, Day 2: Release The Kraken!

USA Today notes a report from NOAA on the transformations currently under way in the Pacific:

Sharks, blue whales and loggerhead turtles look like losers due to climate change coming to the Pacific Ocean in this century, scientists report.

Sea birds, tuna and leatherback turtles, on the other hand, look more likely to prosper as global warming shifts sea temperatures and habitats, finds the report in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“There will be winners and losers,” says National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries scientist Elliott Hazen, who led the study.The report looked at changing temperatures and habitat areas in the Pacific by 2100, under a “business as usual” scenario of increasing greenhouse gas emissions tied to fossil fuel use continuing to heat the atmosphere.

Seabirds, such as the sooty shearwater, which would see their habitat expand more than 20%, appear likely to increase in numbers, suggests the analysis. Blue whales and mako sharks see their habitat decrease due to warming ocean water and less prey, raising issues for these threatened species, Hazen says. The study suggests effects would be noticeable by 2040.

Hope our kids like eating jellyfish. Sent September 25:

When it comes to climate change and its effects on our oceans, the long lag between stimulus and response makes meaningful action politically problematic. While our lawmakers routinely invoke future generations of Americans, the plain truth is that they’re programmed to think, not in decades or centuries, but in the two-, four-, and six-year spans of electoral politics. Since climatic transformations happen over decades and centuries, it will always be easier for our politicians to ignore the crisis.

Our oceans are now showing the effect of the past century’s fossil-fuel consumption, and the picture is profoundly disturbing, with the potential for mass extinctions up and down the food chain, from oxygen-supplying plankton to blue whales. With billions around the planet who depend on the seas for their sustenance, NOAA’s forecast of increasing oceanic acidification and ecosystem disruption isn’t just about whales and turtles, but a wake-up call for our species.

Warren Senders

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