Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ocean: Assessing the effect of climate change on upwelling ecosystems

Date:
October 14, 2013
Source:
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)
Summary:
Assessing the effect of climate change on upwelling ecosystems is essential to be able to predict the future of marine resources. The zones concerned by this upwelling of cold deep water, which is very rich in nutrients, provide up to 20 % of global production of fish. Since the 1990s, the theory adopted by the majority of the scientific community affirmed that these phenomena were intensifying. The rising temperatures of the air masses above the continents were expected to quicken the trade winds, which would in turn increase the upwellings, thereby cooling the surface water. But this theory has been contradicted by the recent work.

Assessing the effect of climate change on upwelling ecosystems is essential to be able to predict the future of marine resources.
Credit: © Lichtspiel-IRD

Assessing the effect of climate change on upwelling ecosystems is essential to be able to predict the future of marine resources. The zones concerned by this upwelling of cold deep water, which is very rich in nutrients, provide up to 20 % of global production of fish. Since the 1990s, the theory adopted by the majority of the scientific community affirmed that these phenomena were intensifying. The rising temperatures of the air masses above the continents were expected to quicken the trade winds, which would in turn increase the upwellings, thereby cooling the surface water. But this theory has been contradicted by the recent work of researchers from the IRD and its partners.

Related Articles


Coastal waters are getting considerably warmer

In their new study, led off the coast of North and West Africa, the scientists reviewed the wind measurements taken over the past 40 years and the data of the meteorological models along the Spanish and West African coastline, and discovered that they do not show an acceleration of the wind on a regional scale that would be likely to significantly cool the coastal waters. In fact, quite the opposite is true, since the satellite images and in situ measurements of the surface water temperature show a distinct upward trend in the temperature for the entire zone, at a rate of 1°C per century. These new findings contradict the hypothesis that the upwelling of the Canary Current is intensifying.

A reinterpretation of the paleoclimatic data

Until now, the study of this ecosystem focused primarily on paleoclimatic reconstructions based on samples of marine sediments. According to the geochemical analysis of these samples, planktonic organisms have evolved in an increasingly cold environment over the last few decades. This led scientists to conclude that the temperature of the surface water was dropping. But in view of the new findings, the oceanographers have put forward another explanation: the thermal signal deduced from the paleoclimatic data is due to a progressive migration of plankton towards the depths because, on the contrary, the surface water is getting warmer!

The reaction of the coastal ecosystems to climate change remains complex, because it depends greatly on local specificities -- other upwelling systems, such as that of the California Current, clearly show a trend of intensification and cooling of the water in recent decades. At the level of the ecosystem itself, the effects of the warming of the surface waters can be antagonistic: it can for example encourage the growth of fish larvae, but also increase the temperature gradient between the surface water and the deeper water and thereby modify the food chain, etc. Researchers will now have to address all these questions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E.D. Barton, D.B. Field, C. Roy. Canary current upwelling: More or less? Progress in Oceanography, 2013; 116: 167 DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2013.07.007

Cite This Page:

Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). "Ocean: Assessing the effect of climate change on upwelling ecosystems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131014094216.htm>.
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). (2013, October 14). Ocean: Assessing the effect of climate change on upwelling ecosystems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131014094216.htm
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). "Ocean: Assessing the effect of climate change on upwelling ecosystems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131014094216.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

AP (Feb. 28, 2015) — Researchers following endangered killer whales spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low. (Feb. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bridge Collapses Due to Flooding in Bolivia

Bridge Collapses Due to Flooding in Bolivia

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 28, 2015) — Heavy rain and flooding sweep through parts of Bolivia causing damage and leaves more than 2,000 people homeless. Sophia Soo reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

AFP (Feb. 27, 2015) — More than 200 people have been killed in a series of avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall in Afghanistan. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) — The presidents of France and the Philippines issue a joint appeal for a binding agreement on climate change. Katie Sargent reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins