Friday, November 21, 2014

Climate change worsens dead zones in seas

Time now again for Science Friday.

News on the climate change front just keeps getting better.

A research study published in the Journal of Global Change Biology by the Smithsonian Institution has found that climate change is playing a much larger role than previously thought in the presence of "dead zones" in the world's oceans and seas.

Dead zones happen when fertilizers are washed from farmer's fields and flow out into rivers and seas. Microbe populations then skyrocket due to the massive influx of nutrients. This leads to an almost utter depletion of oxygen in the area. Models show that in multiple ways--"biologically, chemically, and physically"--climate change worsens this oxygen loss.

As temperatures continue to increase on the whole, the rise in "dead zone" water temperatures is predicted at being four degrees Celsius. The largest increase will occur in the St. Lawrence seaway where temperatures will be a full seven degrees higher. Though not as dramatic of an increase as the aforementioned waterway, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is likewise expected to experience a temperature rise, thus intensifying the damage.

The past year is already destined to be the warmest one on record, despite the deep freeze many of us in America are experiencing. Now there is more evidence as to just what climate change is doing to the oceans of our world.

So why is the idea of climate change still a hard sell in the United States? In fact, only 40% of Americans believe that climate change is the result of human activity. This is despite the fact that 98% of studies published by climatologists state that this change is actually happening and that humans are causing it. So what gives?

Not surprisingly, one study finds that it boils down far more to political ideology than any basis in evidence. Also a lack of understanding of the science involved helps. The analogy that the previous link gives is an apt one. Bereft of an understanding of the mechanics involved, one is left basing their trust in personalities. If you were an "average Joe" at the dawn of the Scientific Revolution, whose side would you take in the showdown between the Pope and Galileo? Probably the stronger, more persuasive personality. Or at least the one with the bigger pull. What's more, the side someone takes on the debate on climate change (which truly is a non-debate given the evidence) also identifies one's "tribe" in the "culture wars."

Meanwhile, the temperature keeps rising and so do the sea levels and the dead zones just get worse.

Just keep enjoying that curly slide to hell, folks. If we're lucky, we just might get another Kim Kardashian ass photo before it all really hits the fan.

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