TechAlarming changes to Bermuda waters, scientists report

Alarming changes to Bermuda waters, scientists report

Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean
Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean
Images source: © Adobe Stock
6:38 AM EST, December 9, 2023

Scientists examining the waters around Bermuda have divulged some concerning findings. Over the last four decades, the water's properties have altered to the point of being almost unrecognizable.

Researchers who have been studying the Bermuda waters for 40 years report alarming changes. The sea encircling this Atlantic Ocean archipelago is growing warmer and losing oxygen, while also becoming more salty and acidic. Their most recent report stated that "the oceanic waters of the 2020s are almost unrecognizable from those of the 1980s."

Bermuda's surrounding waters have dramatically changed over recent decades

"Our findings indicate that the surface of the subtropical North Atlantic has heated by about 1 degree Celsius (around 2 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 40 years. Furthermore, the ocean's salinity has increased, and it has lost oxygen. Additionally, the ocean's acidity has also increased during this period," Professor Nicholas Bates summarized in an official statement.

Specifically, the oxygen level fell by six percent, and the acidity level rose by approximately one-third. These conclusions result from a decades-long study in which scientists have gathered monthly ocean samples for analysis since 1983. Physics, biology, and chemistry were used to assess the water. These findings were published in the journal, Frontiers in Marine Science.

Such quick alterations in conditions will likely severely impact the area's biodiversity. Decreased oxygen concentrations can imperil many species of aquatic life, and the heightened acidity could affect animals' ability to maintain their shells.

A concern for both local and global water

Though the study directly addresses the Atlantic near Bermuda, a British territory comprising almost 200 islands, the scope of the problem could be much larger. Essentially, all oceans are undergoing extreme changes as the climate crisis intensifies.

Similar increases in salinity, warming, and acidification have been observed near other regions such as Hawaii, the Canary Islands in Africa, New Zealand in the south, and Iceland in the north.

"These observations reveal the speed of change in the recent past and provide key insights into potential shifts in the coming decades. They are a stark testament to regional and global environmental changes, spelling out the existential challenges we as individuals and societies could face soon," added Professor Bates.

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