Heat waves put Mediterranean ecosystems in deadly danger

(ORDO NEWS) — The Mongabay portal publishes a story describing a study by ecologists from the Spanish Institute of Marine Sciences (Barcelona) who found that the effects of marine heat waves from 2015 to 2019 and the increase in sea surface temperatures associated with climate change led to the death of 50 different groups of animals in a swimming pool

Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean, although small compared to the world’s oceans, is home to 7-10% of all marine plant and animal species, many of which are unique to the basin and found nowhere else.

“What is happening is very dramatic. It’s like wildfire in a marine habitat,” the researchers say.

The world’s marine systems store 90% of the heat generated by greenhouse gas emissions, as well as about a third of the excess carbon that humanity has emitted into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Scientists conducted the study using satellite data from the 1980s. They estimated sea surface temperatures as well as available local temperature readings from 75 locations in 11 Mediterranean countries from the T-MEDNet online database.

They then compared the findings with results from coastal biological surveys conducted by 33 research groups to estimate the extent of marine extinction.

According to experts, the average surface temperature of the Mediterranean Sea has increased by 1.2°C since the mid-1980s, and 5 years of the study period were the warmest of these years.

The researchers found that the mass extinction occurred along “thousands of kilometers of coastline” at depths of up to 45 meters.

Scientists predict that if there is no global reduction in emissions, the average temperature of the atmosphere by 2100 will increase by 5°C.

The study proves that the loss of biodiversity due to heat waves is massive.

“We are not talking about individual isolated influences in some rare corner of the planet on some especially sensitive creature. We are talking about the impact on the entire ecosystem,” scientists say.

Experts insist that the only way to stop heatwaves is to quickly reduce the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. But even if that happens, it will take a century or more to reverse the warming in the Mediterranean.


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