01 April 2008

Grey whales and climate change

Gray whales that visit Laguna San Ignacio (Mexico) are changing their habits, probably due to the effects of climate change.

Researchers and locals observed that the whales' fall migration south past San Diego, is peaking five days later than it once did, and once they get to Baja California, they're staying two weeks less than they did in the late 1970s. Furthermore, population census show that the number of whales visiting the area is half of what it was decades ago.

The connection with climate change hasn't been definitively proven, but experts believe that climate change is responsible for causing a subtle shift at the base of the Arctic food chain, forcing the whales to modify their feeding and migration patterns.

Silvia Bonizzoni

(The map by NCEAS shows the climate change impact on the world oceans)

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