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Icy meltwater pooling in Arctic Ocean: A wild card in climate change scenarios
Date:4/5/2011

shifts caused by climate change could lead to lower salinity. "Given the extreme conditions for marine life in the Baltic Sea," such changes could "dramatically impact species distributions" at all depths, Dr. Neumann says.

"The changes in these physical parameters may totally alter the habitat conditions and distribution patterns of many species," agrees researcher Muyin Wang, of the University of Washington in Seattle.

Other physical ocean changes in store

The prospect of an altered ocean circulation pattern ranks among the most worrisome physical ocean changes among many predicted by the community of several hundred scientists connected by the European Union-sponsored project CLAMER.

Among other physical ocean changes either underway or foreseen by European researchers:

  • Rising seas around Europe will become warmer and more acidic;
  • The seasonal mixing of deep and shallow waters, essential to the marine food chain will be disrupted; and
  • More powerful and more frequent storms brewed offshore will batter coasts.

Public survey to complement research inventory

"There is a gap between what is known through research and what policy makers and the public know and understand about the impacts of climate change on the oceans," says Carlo Heip, General Director of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, which coordinates project CLAMER.

"This gap must be filled to spur public acceptance of measures essential to reducing and adapting to the impacts in store."

Project CLAMER will also release in September a pan-European survey revealing public awareness of marine issues, top concerns, most trusted information sources and measures Europeans support to avoid or adapt to serious ocean changes.

While the precise consequences of climate change aren't fully understood, the research results a combination of observations and sophisticated computer m
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Contact: Terry Collins
tc@tca.tc
416-538-8712
Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)
Source:Eurekalert

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