Even the oceans are breaking temperature records in this summer of heat waves. Off the San Diego coast, scientists earlier this month recorded all-time high seawater temperatures since daily measurements began in 1916. “Just like we have heat waves on land, we also have heat waves in the ocean,” said Art Miller of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Between 1982 and 2016, the number of “marine heat waves” roughly doubled, and likely will become more common and intense as the planet warms, a study released Wednesday found. Prolonged periods of extreme heat in the oceans can damage kelp forests and coral reefs, and harm fish and other marine life.
“This trend will only further accelerate with global warming,” said Thomas Frolicher, a climate scientist at the University of Bern in Switzerland, who led the research. His team defined marine heat waves as extreme events in which sea-surface temperatures exceeded the 99th percentile of measurements for a given location. Because oceans both absorb and release heat more slowly than air, most marine heat waves last for at least several days — and some for several weeks, said Frolicher.
Many sea critters have evolved to survive within a fairly narrow band of temperatures compared to creatures on land, and even incremental warming can be disruptive. Some free-swimming sea animals like bat rays or lobsters may shift their routines. But stationary organisms like coral reefs and kelp forests “are in real peril,” said Michael Burrows, an ecologist at the Scottish Marine Institute.
In 2016 and 2017, persistent high ocean temperatures off eastern Australia killed off as much as half of the shallow water corals of the Great Barrier Reef — with significant consequences for other creatures dependent upon the reef. “One in every four fish in the ocean lives in or around coral reefs,” said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a marine biologist at the University of Queensland. “So much of the ocean’s biodiversity depends upon a fairly small amount of the ocean floor.”
The latest study in Nature relied on satellite data and other records of sea-surface temperatures including from ships and buoys. It didn’t include the recent record-breaking measurements off Scripps Pier in San Diego — which reached 26.39°C on Aug. 9 — but Frolicher and Miller said the event was an example of a marine heat wave. Miller said he knew something was odd when he spotted a school of bat rays — which typically only congregate in pockets of warm water — swimming just off the pier earlier this month.
Changes in ocean circulation associated with warmer surface waters will likely mean decreased production of phytoplankton — the tiny organisms that form the basis of the marine food web, Miller said. Marine biologists nicknamed a patch of persistent high temperatures in the Pacific Ocean between 2013 and 2016 “the Blob.” During that period, decreased phytoplankton production led to a cascading lack of food for many species, causing thousands of California sea lion pups to starve, said Miller.
“We’ve repeatedly set new heat records. It’s not surprising, but it is shocking,” he added.(AP)
In the early hours of Monday morning last week, the First Tank Company of the Second Combined Arms Battalion of the army’s 584 Armor Brigade set out from its barracks for a combat readiness patrol. As the unit was passing along the Bade Road section of Provincial Highway 1 in Hsinchu County’s Hukou Township, a CM11 tank accidentally knocked over a set of traffic lights at an intersection and drove up onto the median divider island. Fortunately the accident did not cause any harm to personnel or equipment. The unit immediately contacted the relevant department of Hsinchu County Government to
If you take the Taipei Metro, you will know that instrumental music is broadcast at stations on different lines, with each line featuring a unique theme. However, passengers taking the Bannan Line (Blue Line) and the Songshan–Xindian Line (Green Line) last Tuesday would have heard the new jingle for Haolai toothpaste as trains neared the platform. Haolai, formerly known as “Heiren” — meaning “black person” in Chinese — is the most famous toothpaste brand in Taiwan. Its English name was originally “Darkie” but the owners dropped the racially-charged name and replaced it with “Darlie” in 1989. The skin tone of the
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he Taipei Times bilingual pages are having a makeover, with professionally curated content for both English and Chinese learners of all levels, starting this month. With our new partners Ivy English, English OK, VoiceTube and others, Taipei Times readers can improve their language studies while keeping abreast of important issues in Taiwan and abroad. A new departure for us is the addition of a Chinese-language learning module, with content provided by the National Taiwan Normal University “Mandarin Teaching Center.” Watch this space! 《台北時報》雙語版最優質的中英文內容，多年來一向受到讀者們的喜愛。本月起版面全新升級！每週和《常春藤解析英語》、《English OK中學英閱誌》、《VoiceTube》影音平台……等專業英語機構合作，提供豐富多元且實用的英語學習內容，不但適合各種程度學生及上班族自修，老師、家長用它當教材也超便利。原先頗受歡迎的雙語新聞則予以保留，持續帶領大家了解國內外之重要議題。 而此次改版除了英語學習以外，本報特別和台灣師範大學「國語教學中心」聯手，即將為外國讀者們推出華語學習單元，打造最強全方位中英文雙語版，精彩內容在網站上也看的到唷！