Warmer Atlantic Bad for Zooplankton

Photo by Uwe Kils, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


A paper in press at PNAS finds that summer temperatures in the North Atlantic have risen higher than winter temperatures since 1353. The research involved constructing a climate record between 1353 and 2006 for the shallow inshore waters of the North East Atlantic, then comparing these records to the abundance of marine zooplankton.

The results showed that summer marine temperatures have increased nearly twice as much as winter temperatures since 1353. And that beginning in 1700 a new instability emerged, characterized by climate oscillations approximately every 5 to 65 years. These oscillations appear to be a recent phenomenon.

The warming summer waters also correlate to diminished zooplankton populations. Which means that even warmer summers are predicted to hammer zooplankton even harder in the coming decades. Fewer zooplankton will ricochet hard through an already-battered foodweb once dominated by overfished cod. From the abstract:

Enhanced summer-specific warming reduced the abundance of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus, a key food item of cod, and led to significantly lower projected abundances by 2040 than at present. The faster increase of summer marine temperatures has implications for climate projections and affects abundance, and thus biomass, near the base of the marine food web with potentially significant feedback effects for marine food security.

The paper: Nicholas A. Kamenos, North Atlantic summers have warmed more than winters since 1353, and the response of marine zooplankton. PNAS. DOI

 

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate