In less than 12 months between the summer of 2015 and the spring of 2016, scientists estimate that over a million sea birds died. This number was one of the largest mass die-offs recorded in history.
Scientists now say the cause of these mass die-offs were caused by a huge section of warm ocean water in the northeastern pacific. The region, which they are referring to as ‘the Blob’, is home to sea lives that these sea birds depend on for their survival.
The sea birds cause of deaths
The scientists indicated that the most affected species of birds were the common murre. These are the flesh-eating birds located in the region and depend on other sea life for their survival. Scientists indicated that a wave of heat, which started in 2013, had increased to unbearable levels by 2015, which caused their source of food to migrate.
Climate change concerns
They estimated that, by 2015, the temperature of the region had increased by 3 to 6 degrees, which was significant enough to cause the massive die-offs of sea life. A single Blob covered an estimated 1,000-miles (1,600 km) and the region was not able to get rid of excessive heat through waves, therefore making the are very hot to sustain life.
The change in temperature caused a devastating effect on the ecosystem of the areas affected. There was a drop in microscopic algae production, which feed small sea lives such as shrimps. There was an increased production of harmful algae, which caused deaths of many animals and experts estimate that fishers lost millions of dollars due to this.
Scientists said they were unsure how long it would take for the lost population to be replaced. They indicated it would be difficult since the heatwave is still active in the region and temperatures continue to rise.
The rising global climate change is raising concern among the scientists who participated in this study. They argue that the damage that happened between 2015 and 2016 may be irreparable, especially replenishing the life lives of the murr species.
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