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Earth's plant life: dying on land, dying at sea

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Headlined to H2 8/22/10

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Boyce's shocking result: since 1899, phytoplankton has shown a long-term decline of about 40%, especially during the most recent years. The authors found declines in 8 of 10 ocean basins, and the declines were linked to rising sea surface temperatures.

Actually, this isn't too surprising. Cold water has always been good for phytoplankton, because cold water at the surface sinks, and is replaced by water from deeper in the ocean. This vertical mixing brings nutrients (which otherwise would have sunk) back to the surface, which is good for living things of all types. That's why whales, which can swim the whole length of the ocean, prefer cold water: more living things are there to eat.

So as sea surface temperatures increase, phytoplankton decrease which in turn reduces the ability of the oceans to act as a carbon sink, just like the land's ability is reduced. And another positive feedback loop makes the effect of CO2 emissions even worse.

*****

Finally, the next time someone claims that the temperature record has been biased too warm by parking lots or air conditioners, you can show them this nifty graphic, also from the NOAA report:tenseparate indicators of a warming globe, and an additional indicator (stratospheric temperature decline) that points to greenhouse gas as the culprit. These eleven indicators are comprised of fifty-five datasets published in peer-reviewed literature. (My personal favorite: oceanic heat content.)


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Will we heed what science tells us about climate c... by Philip Pease on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 9:38:16 AM
well Hey! Let's have a mass suicide party!It will ... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 10:14:44 AM
Though in some circles it's politically incorrect ... by Laura Stein on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 10:51:49 AM
I have long called for a substantial payment to pe... by wagelaborer on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 2:06:23 PM
Offer inmates a year off their sentence if they ag... by Adam Smith on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 5:52:04 PM
No, everybody is eligible.This isn't a eugenics id... by wagelaborer on Monday, Aug 23, 2010 at 9:35:42 AM
But I sure as hell can't!And ditto the comment bel... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 4:01:18 PM
As the ocean's warm up, oxygen is less available t... by Laura Stein on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 9:55:11 AM
Finally, the next time someone claims ..., you can... by PrMaine on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 10:01:55 AM
Global warming is not one of them and what we shou... by Mike Preston on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 10:25:55 AM
"The reason we get global warming alarmist (sic) o... by Laura Stein on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 11:15:47 AM
The ruling class calls for cap and trade, not carb... by wagelaborer on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 1:48:25 PM
... by Laura Stein on Thursday, Aug 26, 2010 at 10:03:52 AM
Mr. Preston,you need to come back to earth immedia... by liberalsrock on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 3:23:38 PM
FDR put people to work planting trees, to stop soi... by wagelaborer on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 at 1:53:45 PM