Feeds

Ocean plants like it cold, thanks

NASA links growth with climate

Application security programs and practises

A warmer climate could disrupt the marine food chain, new research from NASA suggests, potentially damaging fisheries and other marine ecosystems.

The space agency's researchers tracked temperature and marine plant growth over a period of nine years, beginning in 1997 when the OrbView-2 satellite was launched. Their research has revealed a link between higher global temperatures and lower production of microscopic phytoplankton, the primary oceanic food supply. Conversely, cooler weather saw the phytoplankton thrive.

Phytoplankton are hugely important in regulating the amount of carbon in the atmosphere - they account for as much photosynthesis as all land plants combined.

Naturally, if fewer of the microscopic marine plants can grow, photosynthesis is less, and the plants take in less carbon. This, NASA researchers say, means more carbon is left in the atmosphere to contribute to the overall process of global warming.

"Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere play a big part in global warming," said lead author Michael Behrenfeld of Oregon State University.

"This study shows that as the climate warms, phytoplankton growth rates go down and along with them the amount of carbon dioxide these ocean plants consume. That allows carbon dioxide to accumulate more rapidly in the atmosphere, which would produce more warming."

The team explains the link by analysing the changes to the ocean that go hand in hand with changes in atmospheric temperature.

As the climate warms, so do the upper layers of the ocean. The warmer, lighter water floats on top of a much denser layer of cooler water below. This stratification effectively cuts the surface layer off, and in so doing, prevents the phytoplankton from accessing the nutrients they need to thrive. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.