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Ocean and Climate Change Paradigm Shifts to Account for New Data

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Ocean ChangeUnderstanding the effect of climate change on upwelling ecosystems is paramount to understanding and predicting the future of marine resources.

The zones affected by this upwelling of cold deep water, which is very rich in nutrients, provide up to 20 % of the global production of fish. The theory adopted by the majority of the scientific community in the 1990s acknowledged that these phenomena were intensifying.

However, a group of scientists from the IRD have just concluded a study off the cost of West Africa that has demonstrated that the coastal waters from Morocco to Senegal have been getting warmer, not colder as previous thought, over the past 40 years.

The IRD team and its partners reviewed wind measurements gathered over four decades and the data of the meteorological models along the Spanish and West African coastline. Much to their surprise, they discovered that they do not show an acceleration of the wind on a regional scale that would be likely to significantly cool the coastal waters.

Surprisingly, the satellite and measurement of the surface water temperature demonstrate rising temperatures for the entire zone, at a rate of 1°C per century. These new findings contradict the previous hypothesis that the upwelling of the Canary Current is intensifying.

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