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We are all going to suffocate...

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posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 05:22 AM
Phytoplankton... produce half of the oxygen we breathe, draw down surface CO2, and ultimately support all of our fisheries”

Professor Boris Worm

The amount of phytoplankton - tiny marine plants - in the top layers of the oceans has declined markedly over the last century, research suggests.

Writing in the journal Nature, scientists say the decline appears to be linked to rising water temperatures.

They made their finding by looking at records of the transparency of sea water, which is affected by the plants.

The decline - about 1% per year - could be ecologically significant as plankton sit at the base of marine food chains.

Algal blooms can be imaged from space This is the first study to attempt a comprehensive global look at plankton changes over such a long time scale.

"What we think is happening is that the oceans are becoming more stratified as the water warms," said research leader Daniel Boyce from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

"The plants need sunlight from above and nutrients from below; and as it becomes more stratified, that limits the availability of nutrients," he told BBC News.

Phytoplankton are typically eaten by zooplankton - tiny marine animals - which themselves are prey for small fish and other animals.

Disk record

The first reliable system for measuring the transparency of sea water was developed by astronomer and Jesuit priest Pietro Angelo Secchi.

Asked by the Pope in 1865 to measure the clarity of water in the Mediterranean Sea for the Papal navy, he conceived and developed the "Secchi disk", which must be one of the simplest instruments ever deployed; it is simply lowered into the sea until its white colour disappears from view.

Dalhousie University
Various substances in the water can affect its transparency; but one of the main ones is the concentration of chlorophyll, the green pigment that is key to photosynthesis in plants at sea and on land.

The long-term but patchy record provided by Secchi disk measurements around the world has been augmented by shipboard analysis of water samples, and more recently by satellite measurements of ocean colour.

The final tally included 445,237 data points from Secchi disks spanning the period 1899-2008.

"This study took three years, and we spent lots of time going through the data checking that there wasn't any 'garbage' in there," said Mr Boyce.

"The data is good in the northern hemisphere and it gets better in recent times, but it's more patchy in the southern hemisphere - the Southern Ocean, the southern Indian Ocean, and so on."

The higher quality data available since 1950 has allowed the team to calculate that since that time, the world has seen a phytoplankton decline of about 40%.

Ocean cycling

The decline is seen in most parts of the world, one marked exception being the Indian Ocean. There are also phytoplankton increases in coastal zones where fertiliser run-off from agricultural land is increasing nutrient supplies.

However, the pattern is far from steady. As well as the long-term downward trend, there are strong variations spanning a few years or a few decades.

Father Secchi's simple disk has been used for more than 100 years Many of these variations are correlated with natural cycles of temperature seen in the oceans, including the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Arctic Oscillation.

The warmer ends of these cycles co-incide with a reduction in plankton growth, while abundance is higher in the colder phase.

Carl-Gustaf Lundin, head of the marine programme at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), suggested there could be other factors involved - notably the huge expansion in open-ocean fishing that has taken place over the century.

"Logically you would expect that as fishing has gone up, the amount of zooplankton would have risen - and that should have led to a decline in phytoplankton," he told BBC News.

"So there's something about fishing that hasn't been factored into this analysis."

The method of dividing oceans into grids that the Dalhousie researchers used, he said, did not permit scrutiny of areas where this might be particularly important, such as the upwelling in the Eastern Pacific that supports the Peruvian anchovy fishery - the biggest fishery on the planet.

Absorbing facts

If the trend is real, it could also act to accelerate warming, the team noted.

Photosynthesis by phytoplankton removes carbon dioxide from the air and produces oxygen.

In several parts of the world, notably the Southern Ocean, scientists have already noted that the waters appear to be absorbing less CO2 - although this is principally thought to be because of changes to wind patterns - and leaving more CO2 in the air should logically lead to greater warming.

"Phytoplankton... produce half of the oxygen we breathe, draw down surface CO2, and ultimately support all of our fisheries," said Boris Worm, another member of the Dalhousie team.

"An ocean with less phytoplankton will function differently."

The question is: how differently?

If the planet continues to warm in line with projections of computer models of climate, the overall decline in phytoplankton might be expected to continue.

But, said, Daniel Boyce, that was not certain.

"It's tempting to say there will be further declines, but on the other hand there could be other drivers of change, so I don't think that saying 'temperature rise brings a phytoplankton decline' is the end of the picture," he said.

The implications, noted Dr Lundin, could be significant.

"If in fact productivity is going down so much, the implication would be that less carbon capture and storage is happening in the open ocean," he said.

"So that's a service that humanity is getting for free that it will lose; and there would also be an impact on fish, with less fish in the oceans over time."

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 06:00 AM
could this be a reason as to why
whales beach themselves ???
Plankton is their food source
is it not ???
Maybe the whales are starving to
death and commits suicide to
make it quicker and less painful
than an empty belly.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 06:26 AM
reply to post by PurpleDog UK

The very last people that survive this are probably American Billionaires and scientists that thinks the rest of mankind are useless eaters that deserves to extinct from their stupidity and unawares that they are eventually dies from this before Scientist's Inventions and Innovations makes their ways out of their brains and/or labs.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 07:02 AM
reply to post by PurpleDog UK

Not according to John Kerry, who recently said that 'the reason plants were not growing in or around the USA was because there is too much CO2'!!!

[edit on 29/7/2010 by teapot]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 07:12 AM
reply to post by teapot

That must be one of the most stupid quotes i ever heard regarding plant(like) life.
Does plants not "breathe" CO2 during daytime ?
If you ever had an aqaurium with many plants in it, you should know that you ADD Co2 to make the plants grow more, it also works on regular earth plants, forests etc.
The more Co2, the more the plants will grow.!!
Sad that people will say stuff they dont know anything about, but ofcouse it fits in with the "cap and trade " "Co2 is evil and " the reason "everthing is wrong " scheme..
Deny it please !!

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 07:20 AM
reply to post by PurpleDog UK

That's the plan.

Now you have to ask yourself, who are the planners?

Also, each day TPTB are logging more and more of our forests.

Trees are the lungs of our planet.

Maybe humanity is as stupid as it appears by destroying the very things he needs to survive. Maybe it is simply human greed.

I use to think in my 20's, 30's and early into my 40's that anyone that would cry conspiracy was a nutter.

Now, I'm not so sure.

The big stuff doesn't happen by chance.

I've watched too many people with just a little bit of power and they are meticulously methodical in every detail.

David Icke isn't looking so wacky after all.

I personally think, there are things going on behind the curtain we humans have no comprehension of and all of what is going on isn't by stupid human greed and error.

[edit on 29-7-2010 by ofhumandescent]

[edit on 29-7-2010 by ofhumandescent]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 07:54 AM
reply to post by BBC The1

Get John Kerry to deny it!

From what I can gather, when he said it, nobody batted an eyelid!

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 08:28 AM
Stuff like this makes me wonder how long the elites plan to huddle in their bunkers before it's safe to live on Earth again? Perhaps Humans will adapt and become a race of cave-dwellers.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:24 PM
Surprised this hasn't attracted more interest to be honest. I'd have expected decline of the bottom of the food chain to be front page material.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 05:17 PM

Originally posted by justwokeup
Surprised this hasn't attracted more interest to be honest. I'd have expected decline of the bottom of the food chain to be front page material.

you would think so. but the GMO foods will be fine people well sheople just know that their fast food will never go away.. so there really is nothing to worry about. I am done caring about the ignorant masses TPTB may be right let the stoopid all fall into the giant hole and leave us with enough food and water. sad statement but true,

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