Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The slimy, slimy sea

The Ocean of the Future Is Slime

by Ross Pomeroy
RealClearScience

Of all of Earth's natural majesty, there are few scenes more beautiful than a California beach at sunset. Waves of water painted red by the setting sun gently roll in and out, singing a spellbinding lullaby. Seabirds glide noiselessly overhead, occasionally dipping down to skim the water in search of a meal. Everything is so peaceful, so serene.

Now...
"Imagine an ocean seething with microbes, its red-brown surface weedy with algae. Vast dead zones and tides of neurotoxic water hamstring high-order productivity, wiping out the top half of the food chain while its base fills the world with toxic sludge. Waves crash on the beach, kicking up drifts of sticky green foam that cling to the sand. The clean salt air turns sickly toxic with the stench of decay. The ocean's delicate species have perished during the extremely hot days of summer or have expired in a bankruptcy of expensive skeletons."
Anthony Palumbi's description sounds like a setting from a dystopian alternate reality, but a great many ocean scientists think that it could become our reality if current trends continue. The world's oceans face a three-pronged attack from overfishing, pollution, and climate change. If we don't do something to abate the assault, the seas will turn to slime.

(Continued here.)

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