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Warming stimulates algae blooms and upsets life in the Arabian Sea

Research revealed that global warming is stoking algae blooms that disrupt the lives of animal species in the Arabian Sea, UPI and BTA reported.
By using NASA satellite images for decades, scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Observatory linked the melting of glaciers to the spread of Noctiluca algae in the Arabian Sea.

"Most research related to climate change and marine biology focuses attention on changes in polar regions and temperate climates, while changes in the tropics go largely unnoticed,” said Joaquim Goesch of the team.

Cold winter monsoons blowing from the Himalayas usually cool the surface of the Arabian Sea. As a result, cold layers of water sink and are replaced by layers of water that is rich in nutrients under them. This process, called convective displacement, allows for the flowering of phytoplankton, which many sea creatures feed, into sunlit water with a high nutrient content. But melting glaciers has contributed to the ocean surface blowing winds becoming warmer and wetter, reducing convective displacement. The change in question negatively affects phytoplankton, but not on Noctiluca algae, which, unlike it, does not need sunlight.

Noctiluca's ability to bloom when shrinking snow cover in the Himalayas and Tibet has been upsetting life in the Arabian Sea since the late 1990s, the research shows. Only jellyfish and some marine invertebrates can feed on Noctiluca.

"This is probably about one of the most dramatic changes related to global warming,” Goesch noted.

The results of the study are published in the journal. “Syantificus Reports.”


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