Global warming will stifle oceans, say scientists

Global warming will stifle life-giving microscopic plants that live in the surface layer of the oceans, cutting marine food production and accelerating climate change, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Phytoplankton are not only the foundation of the marine food chain, but every day they take more than 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, scientists from Oregon State University, NASA and four other institutions said.

But as global warming heats the surface layer of the ocean it becomes lighter and therefore separated from the cooler depths from which the phytoplankton get many of their nutrients.

This cuts their numbers, not only reducing the food in the oceans but slashing the amount of carbon dioxide they take from the air and therefore accelerating the climate warming process.

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