The Arctic and global warming

February 20, 2006

A warmer Arctic Ocean may mean less food for the birds, fish, and baleen whales and be a significant detriment to that fragile and interconnected polar ecosystem, and that doesn't bode well for other ocean ecosystems in the future. That's the word from University of Miami Rosenstiel School's Dr. Sharon Smith who will speak on "Potentially Dramatic Changes in the Pelagic Ecosystems of the Marginal Seas of the Arctic Ocean due to Anthropogenic Warming," today at 3 p.m. HST (8 p.m. EST) in Honolulu at the American Geophysical Union's 2006 Ocean Sciences Meeting.

"We've seen models of global climate change for more than 20 years, and they have shown us that warming associated with increased, man-made carbon dioxide emissions will appear first - and be the most intense - in the Arctic," Smith said. "But what extensive satellite imagery confirms is that this Arctic warming is happening already. Permanent ice is thinning, and the duration of ice-free conditions is extending. This is changing currents and affecting feeding patterns and food source availability for the animal life there."

According to Smith, the match of the physical forcing and the life cycles of Arctic marine organisms is crucial; both need to be relatively predictable in time and space for evolution of this food web to have taken place. Global warming is acting to disrupt predictability, a situation that could cause the rapid demise of marine mammals and birds upon which subsistence human populations depend.

A biological oceanographer, Smith has spent her career examining some of the smallest components of food webs. She is the co-director of the National Science Foundation/National Institute of Environmental Health Science Oceans and Human Health Center that is based at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science as well as a professor in marine biology and fisheries there. Her presentation was part of a session titled, Observations of Anthropogenic Climate Change in the Oceans and their Implications for Society II: Arctic and Ecosystem Responses. Dr. Rana A. Fine, also a UM Rosenstiel School faculty member, presided over the session with Dr. Richard Feely from NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.
-end-
Rosenstiel School is part of the University of Miami and, since its founding in the 1940s, has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions.

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

Related Global Warming Articles from Brightsurf:

The ocean has become more stratified with global warming
A new study found that the global ocean has become more layered and resistant to vertical mixing as warming from the surface creates increasing stratification.

Containing methane and its contribution to global warming
Methane is a gas that deserves more attention in the climate debate as it contributes to almost half of human-made global warming in the short-term.

Global warming and extinction risk
How can fossils predict the consequences of climate change? A German research team from Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), the Museum of Natural History Berlin and the Alfred Wegener Institute compared data from fossil and marine organisms living today to predict which groups of animals are most at risk from climate change.

Intensified global monsoon extreme rainfall signals global warming -- A study
A new study reveals significant associations between global warming and the observed intensification of extreme rainfall over the global monsoon region and its several subregions, including the southern part of South Africa, India, North America and the eastern part of the South America.

Global warming's impact on undernourishment
Global warming may increase undernutrition through the effects of heat exposure on people, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Yuming Guo of Monash University, Australia, and colleagues.

Global warming will accelerate water cycle over global land monsoon regions
A new study provides a broader understanding on the redistribution of freshwater resources across the globe induced by future changes in the monsoon system.

Comparison of global climatologies confirms warming of the global ocean
A report describes the main features of the recently published World Ocean Experiment-Argo Global Hydrographic Climatology.

Six feet under, a new approach to global warming
A Washington State University researcher has found that one-fourth of the carbon held by soil is bound to minerals as far as six feet below the surface.

Can we limit global warming to 1.5 °C?
Efforts to combat climate change tend to focus on supply-side changes, such as shifting to renewable or cleaner energy.

Global warming: Worrying lessons from the past
56 million years ago, the Earth experienced an exceptional episode of global warming.

Read More: Global Warming News and Global Warming Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.