Global Ocean Phytoplankton in Severe Decline


Global Ocean Phytoplankton in Severe Decline // Published on Feb 9, 2016

Phytoplankton are about half the global biomass, and they are the base of the ocean food chain, and produce the oxygen in every other breath you take.

In 2010 a landmark paper reported that from 1950 to 2010 the global oceans suffered a severe drop in phytoplankton of almost 1% per year (40% drop). What has happened since then; find out in this video [1].

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What the Earth will do to us via climate change:

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[1] dk, Nature article is an abstract at this distant point in time, Scientific American has a good rendition here, mentioning same.  Here is the recent version Paul mentions, ‘Recent decadal trends in global phytoplankton composition‘ here.


About paulbeckwith

Well known climate science educator; Part-time Geography professor (climatology, oceanography, environmental issues), University of Ottawa. Physicist. Engineer. Master's Degree in Science in Laser Optics, Bachelors of Engineering, in Engineering Physics. Won Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario gold medal. Also interested in investment and start-ups in climate solutions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Avid chess player, and likes restoring old homes. Married with children.
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4 Responses to Global Ocean Phytoplankton in Severe Decline

  1. Johnny says:

    Hello Paul,
    Thanks for the videos!
    You should check out this video on a possible contributor to phytoplankton decline:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shawn says:

    Hello Paul
    Thanks for this video summary. Scary stuff. It does not feel like this issue gets enough attention. At the current rate of decline, when is the ocean ecosystem ecologically impaired? When is the current ocean ecosystem ecologically dead? Presumably, at that time, we would too. Would the death of the ocean happen on a faster scale than the impacts of global warming on land ecosystems? Rhetorical questions, but I hope some folks are looking at this.


  3. Greg Robie says:

    The BBC “After The Warming” docu-drama was my initiation to these critters’ role in the carbon cycle and the threats a warming ocean presented to them…& to us. Putting this information out again is good. Though with this latest polar vortex turning Ottawa colder than the North Pole (& it forecasted to be at the freezing mark a week from now), such places me [again] in awe of the power of motivated reasoning in our psychological makeup…and how that plays out sociologically. We are not a rational species. Descartes’ insight has been convoluted: I feel, therefore I am; reality is as I am; I am reality…!


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