Sea off Cork to get warmer and less salty, research shows

Sea off Cork to get warmer and less salty, research shows

Like a work of art, two pieces of wood on the beach at Claycastle near Youghal. Picture: Denis Minihane.

IT won’t happen for nearly 15 years but waters off the Cork coastline are going to get less salty and warmer.

That is the prediction of scientists at the national Marine Institute who have released the results of a 20-year study of algal bloom.

They say their research, which has been examined in detail before being published, shows that “the impacts of climate change are already evident in Irish marine waters.”

Patterns of harmful algal blooms have changed in recent decades, according to the Marine Institute.

Soaring over the sea at Youghal, Co. Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Soaring over the sea at Youghal, Co. Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The scientists investigated harmful algal bloom patterns in Irish waters from 1997–2016.

Impact

“By looking at the data on blooms over the past two decades, we can see that climate change is already having an impact on our marine environment,” said Dr Caroline Cusack of the Marine Institute, releasing the research.

“Harmful algae usually bloom during the warm summer season or when water temperatures are warmer than usual. 

"As human-induced climate change continues to impact our ocean, we must remain vigilant to the stress and damage this is having on marine ecosystems.”

Researchers at the Marine Institute also developed computer models to investigate regional oceanic climate off the South West.

These indicate that, under future projected medium and high greenhouse gas emissions, the ocean off the South West will become warmer and less saline by the year 2035.

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