Sunday, May 18, 2008

Global Warming and "Zones of Death"

Another irresistible headline. Zones of death sound just like the sort of thing economists should be interested in and then they are a result of global warming, a blog post if inevitable.

The term "Marine graveyards" also has a certain ring to it.

Zones of death are spreading in oceans due to global warming [Times]

Marine dead zones, where fish and other sea life can suffocate from lack of oxygen, are spreading across the world’s tropical oceans, a study has warned.

Researchers found that the warming of sea water through climate change is reducing its ability to carry dissolved oxygen, potentially turning swathes of the world’s oceans into marine graveyards.

The study, by scientists from some of the world’s most prestigious marine research institutes, warns that if global temperatures keep rising there could be “dramatic consequences” for marine life and for humans in communities that depend on the sea for a living.

This is a suitably gloomy scenario where fish stocks die leaving humans with a serious shortage of food leading to a dramatic decline in the human population and suffering for billions.

The article concludes with a comparison with 250 million years ago - a time series in excess of that in the average economics paper.

Recent research has revealed that about 250m years ago average oxygen levels in oceans fell almost to zero – a reduction associated with dramatic changes in climate that resulted in the extinction of 95% of the world’s species.

We are clearly all doomed.

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