From: Yale Environment 360
Published September 5, 2017 12:02 PM

What Happens to the Antarctic Ocean with 1 Degrees Celsius of Warming?

Scientists have discovered “massive impacts” on marine life in the Antarctic Ocean when waters are warmed by 1 degree Celsius, including a doubling in growth of some species and a drop in overall biodiversity, according to a new study in the journal Current Biology.

Previously, the only way scientists could study the impact of warming temperatures on small marine organisms, such as those that live on the sea floor, was in laboratory and tank experiments. But “that’s quite removed from their natural setting,” Gail Ashton, lead author of the new study, told Popular Science. Instead, Ashton and her colleagues at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) spent six years creating a technology that could heat a small test plot of actual ocean by 1 degree and 2 degrees Celsius, the projected increases in ocean temperature from climate change over the next 50 and 100 years respectively. A heating device was placed 50 feet below the surface in a shallow part of the Antarctic Ocean, and researchers documented what happened to sea life over a nine-month period.

Continue reading at Yale Environment 360

Image: Changes to seafloor organisms over a nine-month period in normal, 1-, and 2-degree Celsius ocean warming. Credit: ASHTON ET AL 2017

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