Thousands of dead sea creatures are washing up on Britain’s beaches, in what has been described as a “mass extinction event” that is believed to be part of a climate change-related phenomenon. The British Ministry of Defence estimates there are 3,000 to 4,000 tons of dead marine life washed up on the shore every year.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life,” said Dr. Nick Moore of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute on a National Geographic special called “Dead Seas.” “We’re not just seeing a drop in the population, we’re seeing animals dying because of reasons other than their numbers being low. It’s a really unusual phenomenon that we’re witnessing in one place in the world.”
While scientists have speculated that warmer waters may be responsible for the mass death of creatures in the North Sea, according to Moore there is “certainly no evidence of warming in the ocean that would cause any sort of mass stranding event.” Instead, ocean currents may be responsible. As Moore explained, “The mixing of warm and cold water by currents in the North Sea may actually be responsible for this mysterious event.”
Since 2013, scientists have been exploring the problem of “dead zones” in the North Sea, an area of extremely shallow ocean just outside the shores of the UK where no marine life can survive. Moore believes one of the largest areas of evidence for a mass stranding occurs in the Great Seal Strandings along the coasts of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.
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