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This heat is shaking the very foundation of the ocean food web

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece in Wired or enjoy below 

🗞️ Driving the news: Unprecedented ocean temperatures are being charted globally, with Manatee Bay, Florida, witnessing a shocking 101°F
• The North Atlantic, too, is experiencing record highs since the '80s, and as September typically sees its peak, further records could topple soon

🔭 The context: Escalating sea temperatures, fueled by both natural climate fluctuations and anthropogenic global warming, are emerging due to the strengthening of El Niño in the Pacific
• This rise is posing serious threats to marine biodiversity, specifically affecting foundational species like coral reefs and plankton, thereby jeopardizing the entire marine food chain

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: The oceans have absorbed about 90% of the excess heat humanity has pumped into the atmosphere
• By 2014, half of the world’s ocean surface was logging temperatures once considered extreme, a figure that rose to 57% by 2019
Oceanic heating affects the life cycles and survival of many marine species and can lead to decreased oxygen levels and changes in water density that disrupt ecological processes

⏭️ What's next: Nutrient stress and heightened light exposure are reducing pigment production in phytoplankton, a key player in the marine food web
• This disruption not only imperils fish populations, endangering the income of subsistence fishers, but also weakens the ocean's carbon storage capacity, which could precipitate extensive climate system implications

💬 One quote: “Twenty years ago, we were talking about how 2050 would be when we could really point to dramatic things beginning to happen, and we would be in trouble by 2080, 2100. Literally—I would say every year for the past 15 years—things are happening that tell us our models have been a bit too slow. The speed at which this has been happening, I think, is quite surprising.” (Peter Roopnarine, paleoecologist at the California Academy of Sciences)

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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