Study: Global Warming Will Benefit Marine Life

Published October 4, 2010

Seventeen Australian and Canadian scientists have published a study in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology concluding global warming will benefit marine life.

The study finds “climate change is altering the rate and distribution of primary production in the world’s oceans,” which in turn “plays a fundamental role in structuring marine food webs” which are “critical to maintaining biodiversity and supporting fishery catches.”

Hence, the study’s authors write they are keen to examine what the future might hold in this regard, noting, “effects of climate-driven production change on marine ecosystems and fisheries can be explored using food web models that incorporate ecological interactions such as predation and competition.”

The scientists first used the output of an ocean general circulation model driven by a “plausible” greenhouse gas emissions scenario (IPCC 2007 scenario A2) to calculate changes in climate over a 50-year time horizon. The results were then fed into a suite of models for calculating primary production of lower trophic levels (phytoplankton, macroalgae, seagrass, and benthic microalgae), after which the results of the latter set of calculations were used as input to “twelve existing Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) dynamic marine food web models to describe different Australian marine ecosystems.”

The protocol predicted positive “changes in fishery catch, fishery value, biomass of animals of conservation interest, and indicators of community composition.

The 17 scientists state under the IPCC’s “plausible climate change scenario, primary production will increase around Australia” with “overall positive linear responses of functional groups to primary production change,” and “generally this benefits fisheries catch and value and leads to increased biomass of threatened marine animals such as turtles and sharks.” The calculated responses “are robust to the ecosystem type and the complexity of the model used,”

In the concluding sentence of their paper, the authors state the primary production increases their work suggests will result from future IPCC-envisioned greenhouse gas emissions and their calculated impacts on climate “will provide opportunities to recover overfished fisheries, increase profitability of fisheries and conserve threatened biodiversity.”

Those highly positive consequences are a great contrast to climate alarmists’ claims that global warming would be an unmitigated climate catastrophe.

Craig D. Idso ([email protected]) is the founder and former president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. A longer version of this article was published on the recently launched Web site of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (, which is updated on a weekly basis. Used with permission.