If increased precipitation and sea surface heating from global warming disrupts the Atlantic Conveyer current – as some scientists predict – the effect on the ocean food chain in the Atlantic and other oceans could be severe, according to a new study just published in Nature.
In a worst case scenario, global productivity of phytoplankton could decrease by as much as 20 percent and in some areas, such as the North Atlantic, the loss could hit 50 percent. The study was conducted by Andreas Schmittner, an assistant professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University.
In his sophisticated computer model, Schmittner does not predict that the Atlantic Conveyer current, which drags warm water from the southern tropics into the North Atlantic and warms Europe, will be disrupted. Rather, his study is one of the first to examine what would happen to the ocean food chain if such a disruption did take place.
Andreas Schmittner | EurekAlert!
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