According to a new report, the Arctic registers record high temperatures, the highest since 1900. The temperatures registered this year are about 3 Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) degrees above average.
The threats imposed over the marine biodiversity by the warming ocean are being stated in the 2015 Arctic Report Card which has been released on Tuesday in San Francisco at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
Temperatures registered this year are the highest ever since the beginning of measurements in 1900 and the sea ice has also reached a record low. The summer ice is melting with more than 13 percent each decade. More than that, about 70 percent of what is called the March ice pack was made of fragile ice, created during the past year, which endangers mammals who live in the habitat of the frozen seas.
Scientists say that the changes, triggered by human action, have visible effects on the marine biodiversity. The changes are also visible in the Pacific, where the population of walruses decreased by more than a half during the past ten years. One reason for this is that after swimming hundreds of miles, they couldn’t find any ice to rest on. On the rare blocks of ice, the population is often crowding, smashing young calves and facing food shortages.
The Arctic fish are also having problems with the warming waters. Large fish from the south are migrating towards the colder waters in the north, resulting in a record population of code and haddock in northern seas such as Barents Sea. Also, the fish living in the cold seas for centuries are migrating to polar waters.
Another negative result of the large fish migration is the decimation of small fish by these predators, which were already having troubles adapting to the warming seas. Many local species of small fish are dependent upon their habitat, which makes it harder for them to adapt to the changes triggered by the record high temperatures registered in the Arctic.
The warming waters are also opening the Arctic to human contaminants, making it easier for the industries to gain access in the areas. Activities like fishing, mining and oil drilling could endanger the Arctic biosphere even more. Many people are already looking for the opportunity of economic development brought by an easier access to the polar waters.
Rick Spinrad, chief scientist at NOAA claims that the Arctic Ocean is warming at a double rate compared to other parts of the planet. This is why scientists expect the temperatures at the poles to rise with another 4-5 Celsius degrees (7.2-9F) by the middle of this century, even if the world manages to keep the 2C limit set at the climate summit in Paris.