Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jellyfish Populations and Global Warming

false twins -jellyfishes
Originally uploaded by marfis75

"They just make these things up," climate modeler Mojib Latif observed after seeing an article in the London Daily Mail that identified Latif as projecting a 30-year span of global cooling. This Truthout article, written by Michael Winship, offers other examples of climate change deniers misinterpreting and misrepresenting scientific studies, often attributing statements to researchers that are essentially bald lies.

In fact, as Latif told the British newspaper the Guardian, "I believe in manmade global warming... There is no doubt within the scientific community that we are affecting the climate, that the climate is changing and responding to our emissions of greenhouse gases."

Winship than points to one of the bizarre and harrowing consequences of global warming: massive increases in jellyfish populations that are causing havoc with the fishing industry and jamming desalination plants.

This has led to all manner of consequences, some you would expect, others not. A 2008 National Science Foundation study found populations growing along the East Coast -- in the Chesapeake Bay area, people are stung about half a million times a year. In the Middle East and Africa, swarms have jammed hydroelectric and desalination plants, forcing them to shut down. In Japan, the fishing industry is losing up to $332 million a year because jellyfish swarms fill the nets, crowding out mackerel, sea bass and other fish.

The AP reports that in October, off the eastern coast of Japan, "Jelly-filled nets capsized a 10-ton trawler as its crew tried to pull them up. The three fishermen were rescued."

This is the stuff of science fiction, but in this case it's entirely real.