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Climate changes brews trouble for marine life in European Seas, Marine Board-ESF report says

There is no denying that climate changes have profound impacts on the world and especially on the marine environment. Recent research has shown that the Northern Hemisphere has been warmer since 1980 than at any other time during the last two millenniums. As a result the increase in temperature under climate change was generally higher in northern than in southern European seas.

The latest European Science Foundation-Marine Board study report, "Impact of climate change on European marine and coastal environment - Ecosystem approach" shows how even moderate climate scenarios have caused marked consequences on the European marine environment.

The study has detailed the impact of climate change at a European Seas level in the Arctic, the Barents Sea, the Nordic Seas, the Baltic, the North Sea, the Northeast Atlantic, in the Celtic-Biscay Shelf, the Iberia upwelling margin, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Take the northern Arctic and Barents Seas for example the decline in sea ice cover there has triggered the most obvious temperature-related changes for marine life. The open systems structure of these seas has demonstrated how climate changes are causing further northward movement of marine organisms Atlantic species are beginning to inhabit the more northern seas, the traditional preserve of Arctic species, and subtropical species are moving into southern waters where previously mainly temperate species existed.

In addition, the increased river runoff and subsequent freshening of the Baltic Sea have also led to shifts from marine to more brackish and even freshwater species while the temperature-induced loss of native species from enclosed systems, such as the Mediterranean and Black Sea, will enhance the introduction of non-native organisms, according to the study-report which is led by Dr. Katja Philippart from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research.

After taking in all of the recorded impacts on th
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Contact: Issam Ahmed
iahmed@esf.org
European Science Foundation
2-Mar-2007


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