Yup, we know how it sounds. But this one's big. And with so much life at stake RIGHT NOW, we refuse to sugarcoat what YOU need to know. Allow us to explain.
It was a bit of a surprise how far the daytime news report above went. Reporter: "...what they found was upsetting.", "...to find out what the loss of phytoplankton could mean for all of us on Earth." Study Co-author: "It's extremely disturbing."
But as is so often the case, they glossed past the real news -- revelations that, given their catastrophic potential, are of a magnitude far beyond any oil spill disaster and *should be* on par with the imminent collision of a massive asteroid, an actual alien invasion, or the breakout of nuclear war.
EVERYTHING that eats ANYTHING exists because of phytoplankton in the global ocean. They are THE BASE LIFE OF ALL LIFE. Half of all organic matter on our planet. The primary absorbers of CO2 (heat-trapping gas) from the atmosphere. Create every 2nd breath of oxygen we breathe.
Well, a shocking new study has concluded that phytoplankton have ALREADY DECLINED (DIED- OFF) BY 40% SINCE 1950 (most notably in the northern hemisphere) and continue to do so at an accelerating rate -- ABOUT 1% PER YEAR(!) -- because of the heating impacts of global warming.
- tipping points, beyond which catastrophic, runaway feedback loops become irreversible
- latency and inertia (heating we've injected into the system, but haven't felt yet)
- ocean acidification (oversaturated with carbon it can no longer absorb, toxic)
- arctic meltdown and imminent methane time bomb release from permafrost melt
- the threat of abrupt, unpredictable, climate balance shifts
- the many other climate crisis extremes that have already wreaked havoc upon ecosystems the world over (storms, droughts, desertification, sea level rise, floods, fresh water scarcity, mass extinctions and biodiversity loss, forest depletion and wildfires, resource wars and mass-migration, proliferation of disease, insect infestations, more)
- humanity continues to emit greenhouse gases from fossil fuel addiction at an accelerating rate
- the need to transform to a near ZERO carbon global economy -- FAST
- the need to REMOVE HUGE AMOUNTS OF CARBON FROM THE ATMOSPHERE, which is THE ONLY WAY TO REVERSE the heating inertia we've caused and cool the planet within the RAPIDLY CLOSING WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY necessary (race against time to prevent tipping points)
You don't have to be an expert to sense in your gut that we're in "some real pretty **** now, man."
At present, the world's atmosphere is on an accelerating course to reach a state of potentially unsurvivable, runaway global heating and climate breakdown extremes DURING THE LIVES OF TODAY'S CHILDREN and only EMERGENCY international action at EMERGENCY (world-war time) speed *may be* proportional enough to confront the scale, scope and urgency of this unprecedented threat.
* * * * *Excerpts & Quotes
From an Article by Steve Connor, The Independent
Tagline: "Microscopic life crucial to the marine food chain is dying out. The consequences could be catastrophic." ...
"If the findings are confirmed by further studies it will represent the single biggest change to the global biosphere in modern times, even bigger than the destruction of the tropical rainforests and coral reefs, the scientists said yesterday." ...
"If this holds up, something really serious is underway and has been underway for decades. I've been trying to think of a biological change that's bigger than this and I can't think of one," said marine biologist Boris Worm of Canada's Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. ...
"Phytoplankton are a critical part of our planetary life support system. They produce half of the oxygen we breathe, draw down surface CO2 and ultimately support all of our fishes." Dr. Worm said. ...
"Phytoplankton is the fuel on which marine ecosystems run. A decline of phytoplankton affects everything up the food chain, including humans," Dr Boyce said.
Quotes From a post by Joseph Romm, Climate Progress (Leading Climate Blog)
"Scientists may have found the most devastating impact yet of human-caused global warming — a 40% decline in phytoplankton since 1950 linked to the rise in ocean sea surface temperatures. If confirmed, it may represent the single most important finding of the year in climate science." ...
"But until now, conventional wisdom has been that big ocean impacts might not be seen until the second half of the century. This new research in Nature suggests we may have much less time to act than we thought if we want to save marine life — and ourselves." ...
"We ignore these results at our gravest peril."
* * * * *
- * The Study -- Global Phytoplankton Decline Over Last Century
- * Article -- Global Warming Blamed, Potentially Catastrophic Phytoplankton Decline, The Independent
- * Blog -- Stunner: Global Warming Blamed for 40% Phytoplankton Decline, CP
- * Article & Video (above) -- Phytoplankton Vanishing from Warming Oceans, CBC
- Article -- Phytoplankton Declining: Striking, Linked to Rising Global Temps, Science Daily
- Article -- Plankton Decline Across Oceans as Waters Warm, BBC
- Article -- Scientists Warn Global Warming Threat to Marine Food Chain, The Guardian
- * NASA -- What Are Phytoplankton?
- * NASA -- Importance of Phytoplankton
- Wikipedia -- Phytoplankton
- * Videos -- Ocean Acidification Compilation