Climate change near the equator

Monk seal hanging out

Climate change in warmer parts of the globe could also mean a loss of habit. It’s the reverse of losing ice habitat because where is all that excess water going to go? Three words…sea level rise. All that excess water has to go somewhere and it’s quite possible that it could end up flooding crucial coastal habitat for marine mammals across the globe.

One such victim could be the Hawaiian monk seal. According to the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals: “In the case of endangered and endemic fauna, such as Hawaiian monk seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, an evaluation of potential effects of seal level rise by 2100 found that maximum projected habitat loss ranged from 65% to 75% under median and maximum scenarios of sea level rise, respectively.” I want to believe that Hawaiian monk seals would play it safe and move to higher ground. But then again humans don’t bother to do the same, rebuilding homes on the edge of cliffs in Southern California again and again. Any change is scary though since Hawaiian monk seals are one of the most endangered seals in the world.

The article on climate change by Sue Moore also discusses the possibility of increased storms. This could be a good thing in some areas where storms can “deepen the mixed layer” increasing nutrients in the upper ocean. On the other hand storms could reduce the survival of baby seals and sea lions on land or ice.

Overall, climate change sounds like a no win…but only time will tell.

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