Scientists believe that Oceans may take thousand years to recover from climate changeChris Middlebrooks (Author) Published Date : Apr 02, 2015 09:54 IST
A recent scientific study has established that marine ecosystems may require over thousand years, instead of hundreds, to recover from effects of climate change.
Team of Scientists researched thousands of invertebrate fossils to show that ecosystem recovery from climate change and seawater deoxygenation might take place on a millennial scale. They analyzed more than 5,400 invertebrate fossils within a 30-foot sediment core from offshore Santa Barbara, California spanning over 13,000 years.
It provides a before-and-after snapshot of what happened during the last major deglaciation. The new study documents how long it has historically taken for ecosystems to begin recovery following dramatic shifts in climate.
The California Academy of Sciences said in a statement that this is a revolutionary and the first of its kind study.
Earth's recovery from the last glacial period, in fact, was slower and more brutal than previously thought, according to the study, published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The recovery does not happen on a century scale; it's a commitment to a millennial-scale recovery, said Sarah Moffitt, a marine ecologist at UC Davis' Bodega Marine Laboratory and lead author of the study. If we see dramatic oxygen loss in the deep sea in my lifetime, we will not see a recovery of that for many hundreds of years, if not thousands or more.
Beginning around 13,500 years ago, the seafloor community began a slow recovery with the rise of grazers that fed on bacterial mats. Recovery eventually was driven by a fluctuation back toward glaciation during the Younger Dryas period, a cooling sometimes called the Big Freeze.
That relatively brief freeze also ended abruptly around 11,700 years ago, virtually wiping out all the seafloor metazoans, the study found. They were gone within 170 years and did not appear again for more than 4,000 years, according to the study.
What this shows us is that there are major biomes on this planet that are on the table, that are on the chopping block for a future of abrupt climate warming and unchecked greenhouse gas emissions, Moffitt said. We as a society and civilization have to come to terms with the things that we are going to sacrifice if we do not reduce our greenhouse gas footprint.
Scientists believe that Oceans may take thousand years to recover from climate change