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But the steep decline of one bird species for the second straight year has rekindled scientists' fears that global warming could be undermining the coastal food supply, threatening not just the Farallones but entire marine ecosystems.
The failure of last year's Pacific upwelling killed seabirds from California to British Columbia. Scientists had hoped the change was just a natural temperature fluctuation in what is known as the California Current.
But the return of higher ocean temperatures and scarce food resources this year has scientists wondering whether last year's erratic weather was not a fluke but the emergence of a troubling trend.