Saturday, July 7, 2007

Global Warming and Whales

Los Angeles Times:
Scientists from Mexico to the Pacific Northwest are reporting an unusually high number of scrawny whales this year for the first time since malnourishment and disease claimed a third of the gray whale population in 1999 and 2000.

So far this year, scientists haven't seen a decline in numbers, and they are not sure what's causing the whales to be so thin. But they suspect it may be the same thing that triggered the die-off eight years ago: rapid warming of Arctic waters where the whales feed. Whales depend on cocktail-shrimp-size crustaceans to bulk up for their long southerly migration. As Arctic ice recedes, fat-rich crustaceans that flourished on the Bering Sea floor are becoming scarce.

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