In the deepest layers of the ocean, water heats up 11 times faster than before. Scientists cannot predict the effects of such changes on animals.
A study by scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia showed how animals in the ocean react to climate change. To do this, they used the “climate change rate” metric, which determines the likely speed and direction of species displacement as the ocean heats up.
“We calculated the rate of climate change across the ocean over the past 50 years, and then until the end of the century, using data from 11 climate models at once,” the researchers noted. – This allowed us to compare the rate of climate change in the four zones of the ocean depths. So we evaluated in which of them biodiversity can change the most”.
The researchers found that now the rate of climate change on the surface of the ocean is two times higher due to stronger warming of the surface, resulting in deeper species at lower risk of climate change than species that live on the surface of the ocean. However, by the end of the century, heat will penetrate deeper. Already now, in waters from 200 to 1000 m, warming has accelerated 11 times.
Scientists also noticed that climate changes at different depths occur at different speeds. This is a problem – it is difficult to study the effect of global warming on animals. Professor Anthony Richardson said that, according to the team, measures must be taken to manage carbon dioxide emissions.
“A significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is vital for controlling warming and taking control of change by 2100”, the scientists said. “Due to the sheer size and depth of the ocean, warming already absorbed on the surface of the ocean will mix with deeper waters”. This means that marine life in the deep ocean will face growing threats of ocean warming until the end of the century.
They also proposed the creation of several large and protected deep-sea areas where damage to animals cannot be inflicted. Researchers want international agreements to regulate this.