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Changing Oceans

August 9, 2010

The effect of climate change on the world’s oceans may have dire consequences for humans.


Our radical ocean experiment. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Climate change is transforming the world’s oceans, at a potentially huge cost. This according to a landmark study published in the journal Science. Co-author John Bruno, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says there are rapid changes in store that would take ages to occur naturally. For instance, in the next couple decades, melting Arctic sea ice will open a passage between the North Atlantic and Pacific.

JOHN BRUNO (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill):
And there’ll be just thousands of species just migrating from one ocean to the other. And these two biogeographic regions have been independent for just about a million years.

That will destabilize the food web, which could lead to extinctions. Bruno says irreversible changes like these will affect millions of people who depend on the sea for food and work. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.