Climate Change Winners And Losers – What Does A Warming Antarctic Look Like?

Source: Phys.org/Frontiers

Photo: Ian Parker/Unsplash

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Marine Antarctic animals closely associated with sea ice for food or breeding, such the humpback whale and emperor penguin, are most at risk from the predicted effects of climate change, finds a new study published in Frontiers in Marine Science. Using risk assessments like those used for setting occupational safety limits in the workplace, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey determined the winners and losers of Antarctic climate-change impacts, which includes temperature rise, sea-ice reduction and changes in food availability. They show that seafloor predators and open-water feeding animals, like starfish and jellyfish, will benefit from the opening up of new habitat.

“One of the strongest signals of climate change in the Western Antarctic is the loss of sea ice, receding glaciers and the break-up of ice shelves,” says Dr. Simon Morley, lead author, based at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), UK. “Climate change will affect shallow water first, challenging the animals who live in this habitat in the very near future. While we show that many Antarctic marine species will benefit from the opening up of new areas of sea floor as habitat, those associated with sea ice are very much at risk.”

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Photo: Ian Parker/Unsplash

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