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Global warming may be beneficial to some fishermen

Global warming may be beneficial to some fishermen

Global warming may be beneficial to some fishermen
February 1, 2007

Climate change may be a boon to fisheries off northwestern Africa according to research published in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

Lead by Dr. Helen McGregor, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Bremen’s Research Center Ocean Margins in Germany, a team of scientists using data from sediment cores linked coastal upwelling off the coast of Morocco to 20th century climate warming. The results are significant because coastal upwelling zones, where nutrient-rich waters rise to the
ocean’s surface, yield roughly 20 percent of the world’s fish harvest but represent less than one percent of the world ocean surface area. The researchers say “the possibility that
global warming might affect the strength or extent of ocean upwelling near the coasts therefore has economically important implications.”

Constructing a 2500-year sea-surface temperature record for the region, the authors “identified a sharp cooling of the surface waters over the last 100 years, which they interpret as a sign that stronger coastal winds led to increased upwelling,” according to a release from Science. “They also found that the sea-surface temperature changes varied along with global surface air temperatures, suggesting that if climate continues to warm, we should expect more coastal upwelling, with potentially significant impacts on fisheries and the carbon cycle.”

“Given the apparent overall sensitivity of upwelling during the 20th century to increases in CO2 and our paleo-results of a distinct upwelling response to hemispheric-scale warming
and cooling, these results strongly imply that upwelling may continue to intensify with future increased levels of atmospheric CO2 and global warming,” the authors write.

McGregor, H. V. et al (2007). “Rapid 20th-Century Increase in Coastal Upwelling off Northwest Africa.” Science Vol 315.

This article is based on a news release from Science.

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