The waters of the Mediterranean are warming and acidifying at unprecedented rates due to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, which means longer a real threat to many marine species and the possibility that in a few years this sea is full of jellyfish .
This is one of the results of the European project MedSeA , which worked 110 researchers from 12 countries for three and a half years and presented Thursday in Barcelona (northeast) Patrizia Ziveri, scientist at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology University Barcelona and project coordinator.
Ziveri explained that a quarter of the CO2 emitted to the atmosphere and the ocean absorbs CO2 when combined with water, produces a gas which acidifies the oceans.
According to the study, the Mediterranean Sea temperature increased an average of 0.67 degrees over the past 25 years, while the acidity of the water grew by 60% since the industrial revolution, up 10% since 1995, and is likely to increase, if remedy is not provided at 152% until the end of the century.
This acidification, combined with global warming is having a unparalleled impact that will affect fisheries, ecosystems, aquaculture and tourism, warned Ziveri.
“Acidification is altering the marine life of the Mediterranean”, Ziveri, who stressed said emblematic species such as red coral reefs that protect vermetids coastal erosion, phytoplankton and zooplankton, seagrass beds, area feeding and management of many organisms, and crops are endangered bivalve molluscs.
“Until this study we did not know anything about the combined effects of warming and acidification of the Mediterranean, and now we know that we have a serious double threat to our marine ecosystems” also uniformly throughout the Mediterranean basin, said Ziveri .
The fault, according to scientists, is the concentration of carbon dioxide in the sea surface by the consumption of fossil fuels, so the researchers apremiaron to “implement urgent measures to reduce carbon emissions . ”
Failure to curb the emission of greenhouse gases, the study warns that the surface temperature of the Mediterranean will rise to 1.5 degrees near East in the Aegean and the Adriatic, 2050 and probably the surface temperature media consistently exceed 29 degrees in the south of this sea.
Scientists found that the consequences of warming and acidification of the Mediterranean have already appeared, such as migration of species north of the coast of southeastern and increased deaths of marine organisms during the hottest summers.
The study, with a budget of € 6 million ($ 8 million), 3.49 million euros provided by the EC calculated that only the Israeli coast, an outcrop of jellyfish reduce the number of tourists from 3 and 10.5%, which would mean an annual economic loss of about 6.2 million.
Scientists urge to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, reducing the stress suffered by the Mediterranean overfishing and create new areas of protection.