Scientists have warned that climate change might be bad news for a broad range of marine life in the Southern Ocean because increasingly frequent climate event could diminish the amount of food at the bottom of the food chain that would eventually affect fishing.
The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is an El Nino-type Antarctic climate phenomenon that has been active more often than ever before are resulting in increased wind, cooler sea surface temperatures and less plant life in the Southern Ocean close to Tasmania.
Commenting on the issue, Peter Strutton at the Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies said, “In the part closest to Tasmania, when the SAM is in a positive phase, which we've had more of lately, sea surface temperatures are cooler, the ocean is mixed more deeply and we see decreases in chlorophyll.”
Less plant life in the oceans means there will be less food for higher species, which will impact on fishing. Moreover, it means carbon dioxide stored in the ocean will move into the atmosphere.
Different studies have found that oceans around the world are becoming more acidic due to an increase in the level of CO2.
The Australian Antarctic Division’s Dr. Karen Westwood has also announced similar findings about microscopic phytoplankton. She confirmed that a decrease in the small species at the bottom of the food chain would have a considerable effect on species higher up.