Claim: Timing Of Ocean Plankton Blooms to Shift with Global Warming


Peer-Reviewed Publication

INSTITUTE FOR BASIC SCIENCE

Fig.1: Marine phytoplankton spring bloom.
IMAGE: LIKE PLANTS AND TREES ON LAND, PHYTOPLANKTON IN THE OCEAN FLOURISHES IN THE SPRING, AS CAPTURED BY SATELLITE OCEAN COLOR OBERVATIONS. GREEN TO RED VALUES INDICATE HIGH PHYTOPLANKTON CONCENTRATIONS. THE IMAGE SHOWS A SNAPSHOT FROM APRIL, 2021 (DATA FROM NASA OCEANCOLOR WEB HTTPS://OCEANCOLOR.GSFC.NASA.GOV/). view more 
CREDIT: INSTITUTE FOR BASIC SCIENCE

Global warming is directly impacting the ocean’s net primary production (NPP) at the base of the food web as well as the seasonal timing of plankton blooms, according to a new study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Contrary to the well-understood situation on land, where climate change is expected to extend the growing season of plants on average due the CO2 fertilization effect and earlier thawing of spring snow in high latitudes, the seasonal response of plankton in the ocean has remained a mystery.

To tackle this open research question a team of climate scientists from the IBS Center for Climate Physics (ICCP) at Pusan National University in South Korea, Princeton University, the University of California Los Angeles, and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), in the US, analyzed global warming supercomputer model simulations conducted with a realistic Earth system model. To better separate the human-induced effect on plankton seasonality over the next ~80 years from the naturally occurring chaotic variations, the team ran the model 30 times with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and slightly different starting conditions.

The analysis of these so-called large ensemble simulations revealed that global warming will have a substantial influence on the timing of future plankton blooms and that these changes will become detectable against the backdrop of natural variations, reaching no-analogue conditions by the end of 21st century. Under such circumstances, there may be a mismatch in the timing of the life cycles of phytoplankton and zooplankton that feed on them, impacting the entire seasonally-paced clockwork of the marine food web. The paper indicates that such effects could be particularly severe for high-productivity regions in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

The underlying controls on future changes in the timing of marine phytoplankton productivity derive in large part from a strong coupling of the growth and decline of ocean primary producers and zooplankton that serve as predators. Seasonal changes in ambient environmental factors such as temperature, light levels, and nutrient concentrations (so-called “bottom-up” controls) and the number of predators (top-down controls) cause phytoplankton to thrive and decline; in turn the predator populations respond rapidly to the phytoplankton abundance. The authors found that planetary warming can disrupt this delicate coupling between external environmental factors and zooplankton responses, leading to seasonal shifts in the blooming of phytoplankton. “The additional level of predator/prey interactions makes the ocean’s response more complex than the response of land plants, where the control is mostly bottom-up” says Dr. Karl J. Stein, a co-author of the study.

“Our study demonstrates the power of large ensemble computer model simulations to understand how ecosystems respond to future climate change, in this case their seasonality. Having established the timing and underlying mechanisms of future plankton bloom changes, we will address further whether such changes will have a negative impact on future food security,” says Dr. Ryohei Yamaguchi from the IBS Center for Climate Physics, and lead author of the study.


JOURNAL

Nature Climate Change

DOI

10.1038/s41558-022-01353-1 

METHOD OF RESEARCH

Meta-analysis

SUBJECT OF RESEARCH

Not applicable

ARTICLE TITLE

Trophic level decoupling drives future changes in phytoplankton bloom phenology

ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE

9-May-2022

from EurekAlert!

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Tom Halla
May 9, 2022 6:08 pm

Yet more models.

Izaac Walton
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 9, 2022 6:47 pm

how else do you expect people to plan for the future? Guess?

Scissor
Reply to  Izaac Walton
May 9, 2022 7:36 pm

Models are guesses.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Izaac Walton
May 9, 2022 8:27 pm

A good start would be to look for empirical data to apply to their hypothesis.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Izaac Walton
May 9, 2022 9:03 pm

Hmm. Misspelled your own name? Or do multiple people in your club use these various names?

Redge
Reply to  Izaac Walton
May 9, 2022 9:31 pm

If the climate models had any validity whatsoever, there would be only a need for a single climate model

Why are there over 100 climate models all giving different results?

Reply to  Izaac Walton
May 9, 2022 9:47 pm

Yes. Then make predictions. Then check the data against the predictions. If the data doesn’t match the predictions then your guess is wrong. Then you guess again. It’s called science. Nullius in verba. This lecture brought to you in memory of Richard Feynman.

JF

another ian
Reply to  Julian Flood
May 10, 2022 1:37 am

Nullius in verba”. Motto of The Royal Society.

One of whose useful contributions lately (IMO) is that it should be applied even to Royal Societies

Reply to  another ian
May 10, 2022 2:25 am

From your mouth to God’s ear. Lord Rees, one-time Astronomer Royal, was asked by a female visitor if AGW was real. “Yes, madame, you can trust me on this. I am the President of the Royal Society.”

JF

PCman999
Reply to  Izaac Walton
May 9, 2022 11:35 pm

These models aren’t for planning, they are for propaganda – models to “prove” that increasing CO2 and (hopefully for our sakes) increasing temperatures will adversely affect the plankton and of course the whole food chain – even though the opposite is true and more logical.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Izaac Walton
May 10, 2022 6:28 am

The modellers aren’t just guessing, they are rigging models to give the outcome that is politically attractive to their paymasters. A random guess would probably be more accurate, especially if it simply extended real observable trends, but then it would not be very scary and of little financial benefit to the modellers and politicos.

RevJay4
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 9, 2022 7:41 pm

Exactly my thoughts. Attempting to predict the future with models, again. Sheesh.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 10, 2022 6:26 am

Why do science when you can do play-science. It requires minimal effort, minimal thought, no understanding of the real world and provides endless possible outcomes to fit your preferences.

Paul Hurley (aka PaulH)
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 10, 2022 7:14 am

Like Wm. Briggs says, all models say what they are told to say.

TonyL
May 9, 2022 6:36 pm

Oh Joy, another YouReekAlert posting.
Oh Joy, part 2, Another model output study.
But this one is better than ever. This time they studied “large ensemble simulations“, how groundbreaking, how innovative.

Under such circumstances, there may be a mismatch in the timing of the life cycles of phytoplankton and zooplankton that feed on them.”

I have to wonder if any of them took their very first marine biology course, or even know anything about basic biology.
Here the zooplankton have evolved to thrive under the same conditions as their food source, including temperature. The two groups move together and are synchronized. So both the premise and the speculated conclusions of this paper are all wet.
I could rip this apart further, but it is just not worth all the typing.
{the authors probably put out junk like this because they get grants to do so.}

G Mawer
Reply to  TonyL
May 9, 2022 7:54 pm

“premise and the speculated conclusions of this paper are all wet. ”

I love it …..and agree

save energy
Reply to  TonyL
May 9, 2022 11:21 pm

“premise and the speculated conclusions of this paper are all wet. ”

So it’s a large Papier-mâché model;

if they want solid conclusions … they should use Lego.

dk_
May 9, 2022 6:42 pm

…on land, where climate change is expected to extend the growing season of plants on average due the CO2 fertilization effect…

Eurekaleak is either spreading CO2 fertilzation effect disinformation, or the CCP editor/handlers forgot the carbon is evil narrative.

Mike
May 9, 2022 6:46 pm

Global warming is directly impacting the ocean’s net primary production (NPP)

Garbage.

markl
May 9, 2022 7:37 pm

More opinions passing as science.

Mike
May 9, 2022 7:41 pm

When they validate their models with actual data, I’ll believe them. Until then, GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Boeing validates their airplane models from flight test data. Until then, the models are only good for allowing the test airplanes to fly. No one uses unvalidated models to generate flight performance charts or validate fuel millage guarantees.

kwinterkorn
May 9, 2022 7:44 pm

The language used here reveals their poor scientific thinking: “…..ensemble simulations revealed that global WILL have a substantial influence on…..”

No. They did not “reveal” anything that “will happen”. As if they had discovered a definite future.

At most, their model simulations “predict” an influence…with no more certainty than the truth value of their global climate model. Given how poorly the various models have been in predicting real weather these last decades, that truth value may be small.

Orwell wrote wonderfully about the corruption of thinking that follows the corruption of language.

These climate scientists are either dishonest or just naive about what is effective science.

May 9, 2022 9:43 pm

Charles, unless the model includes a factor tor the unexpected warming in seas like the Sea of Marmara, the Baltic, the Sea of Japan, major semi-enclosed bays etc etc then it will produce results that are less than optimal. Look at Marmara, see the plankton bloom. Look at farming run-off of phosphate and nitrate and, more important, dissolved silica from weathered farm soils. The latter will sustain blooms of diatoms longer than previously which will delay the blooms of other groups. When the plankton bloom dies it will release lipids which smooth the surface, smoothing waves, lowering albedo, reducing nutrient stirring, causing stratification, reducing evaporation. Look at the SeaWifs data for how much oil we let run down our drains to pollute the air/ocean interface — smooths, warming, stratification… Sewage dumped into the ocean will feed blooms.

The canary in the coalmine is Marmara. It has all the inputs.

(If you ask Anthony nicely he will find my competition entry expanding this Feynman guess with references. )

JF
There’s a bloke in the UK who believes that shape-changing reptiles rule the Earth. I sometimes feel that I should buy a turquoise shell suit like his and a sandwich board. I’d get more people to pay attention.

Reply to  Julian Flood
May 9, 2022 9:45 pm

Almost forgot — this guess also explains the 1910 to 1940 warming and also the 1940 – 45 blip.

JF

Brad-DXT
May 9, 2022 10:04 pm

“Our study demonstrates the power of large ensemble computer model simulations to understand how ecosystems respond to future climate change, in this case their seasonality.”

This study demonstrates that grant seekers found out that if they come up with a bunch of simulations that look impressive to the dimwitted, they will still get paid.
What a load of crap.

Mark Pawelek
May 9, 2022 10:17 pm

Some scientists seem to literally believe that stuff they make up – their models – can be used to project scenarios and that each projection is a valid “experiment”. So when we criticise them for not experimenting – well that’s just not valid! – as they “experiment” more than anyone else. The more computers they have – the more “experiments” they do. Each experiment is reported as a maybe: “it can happen”, “may give rise to”, “is a possible scenario”. The model conveniently elides whatever leaps of logic they made. So everything becomes about “trusting the expert“. if you disagree with a maybe, they’ll say “you don’t have a model but we do”. You don’t have a model is the new – you’re not a scientist, we are! Modelling transforms science from an empirical process with clearly defined rules for hypothesis construction and validation into a process where the only things which matter are how many academic degrees one has, and how cheeky a computer programmer one is.

The trick of re-writing reality is to censor all critics out of existence, so the only scenarios being discussed are these model maybes.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
May 10, 2022 11:00 pm

MP,
On the topic of trust in science, saw a quote the other day:
Trust science. Studies show that if your parents didn’t have children there’s a high probability you won’t either.

Terry
May 9, 2022 10:18 pm

Yah had me until they said it’s all done by modeling. Bu by!

Ireneusz Palmowski
May 9, 2022 11:02 pm

It seems to me that the models are extremely static, whereas there is constant motion in the atmosphere and ocean. Nothing is static. Plankton are positively affected by water temperature, as evidenced by seasonal changes in CO2 near the ocean surface. Ocean currents that mix the waters in the ocean also have a beneficial effect. La Niña has a beneficial effect on plankton in the tropics due to strong upwelling. Therefore, corals respond better to La Niña.
https://earth.nullschool.net/#2022/05/09/1500Z/chem/surface/level/overlay=co2sc/patterson=-150.15,-0.38,157
It is clear that ocean plankton play the largest role in recovering oxygen.

Last edited 14 days ago by Ireneusz Palmowski
May 10, 2022 5:08 am

If you look globally, the warming of earth is really minimal. Especially in the SH. The main warming is in the arctic areas. Note that this corresponds what we see in the picture shown in this post.
I recently saw a program where they took a skeptic on a journey to see ‘climate change’. They took the good man somewhere to Alaska where there once was a towering glacier which is now a lake, and somewhere where the permafrost has melted resulting in putrid blisters from the past that also put more CO2 in the air. And then he reasons (smartly!) that if that is vegetation from the past that is now rotting, does it not prove that it used to be warmer there too? And then they tell the poor man that the warming in the past (in the Holocene) was much slower than it is now.
I think they might be somewhat right about that (excluding Eddy). It was also reasoned there that (this time) it can’t be the sun, because of its declining activity. That reasoning is correct, that’s actually my argument as well. (click on my name).
But my argument is that if it is the differential of temperature between the equator and the polar region that is driving the ‘wind’, then I do not understand why it is not warming in Antarctica as well, because it is colder there, isn’t it? But it hasn’t really gotten any warmer there in recent decades.
So the question really is: where does this (strong) warming in the areas within the arctic circle come from? The answer to that question – in my opinion – is that it comes, or has come, from the Earth itself. We all know about two major volcanic eruptions in Iceland and I think there has been more volcanic activity in the Arctic Oceans as well. I suspect that the extra volcanic activity of the earth is also more cyclical, and that it corresponds to those peaks of the 1000 year Eddy cycle. And those peaks are very sharp, going up, but eventually also sharply coming down. It looks very much that we are seeing a peak in the warming, exactly at around the same time where Eddy/ me predicted /predicts it to be…..
The 1000-year Eddy cycle | Bread on the water

vboring
May 10, 2022 6:02 am

Timing phytoplankton blooms is easy. Just figure out when the volcanos will erupt.

Most phytoplankton populations are constrained by lack of iron. When volcanos supply iron, the populations rapidly recover.

The other major iron sources are vertical mixing by whales (before we killed most of them), dust storms from iron rich soils, upwelling, and one large scale demonstration project off the Canadian coast (https://russgeorge.net/).

During the ocean iron fertilization demonstration, they observed increases in local primary productivity of the ocean within a few days. It is a major climate driver. It is easy to control.

Reply to  vboring
May 10, 2022 9:04 am

Could you check to see if dissolved silica is one of the limits on diatom growth? I have seen statements that only when diatoms exhaust the silica supply do they stop outcompeting the other types.

JF

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  vboring
May 10, 2022 9:27 am

And, the strength and duration of sunlight is a limiting factor for photosynthetic phytoplankton. Do the models propose that celestial objects will be moved by increasing CO2?

Jit
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 11, 2022 10:06 am

Bingo. The timing of the spring bloom of phytoplankton is due to increasing sunlight. The winter is a period of nutrient increase via turbulent mixing. With increasing light levels the phytoplankton can exploit the nutrients. Surface winds have some effect.

DMacKenzie
May 10, 2022 8:51 am

“Our study demonstrates the power of large ensemble computer model simulations to understand how ecosystems respond to future climate change, in this case their seasonality.”

So plankton growth is seasonal. Astonishing. /s

Gordon A. Dressler
May 10, 2022 9:45 am

From the above article’s second paragraph:
“. . . the well-understood situation on land . . .”

Are you kidding me???

And yet again, this is asserted to be a “peer reviewed” publication.

Oh, well.

Ireneusz Palmowski
May 10, 2022 12:22 pm

Cyanobacteria are bacteria capable of photosynthesis and love very warm water. They are the reason we have so much oxygen in the atmosphere.

Robertvd
Reply to  Ireneusz Palmowski
May 10, 2022 12:50 pm

It seems life could not have existed for most of the last 200 million years . Only when the Age Age started 3 million years ago temperatures and CO2 where at a perfect level except for some interglacial moments like the Eemian when Hippos could live in London.

May 10, 2022 6:16 pm

More self satisfaction fantasies.

To tackle this open research question a team of climate scientists from the IBS Center for Climate Physics (ICCP) at Pusan National University in South Korea, Princeton University, the University of California Los Angeles, and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), in the US, analyzed global warming supercomputer model simulations conducted with a realistic Earth system model. To better separate the human-induced effect on plankton seasonality over the next ~80 years from the naturally occurring chaotic variations, the team ran the model 30 times with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and slightly different starting conditions.

The analysis of these so-called large ensemble simulations revealed that global warming will have a substantial influence on the timing of future plankton blooms

Oh Nooo! It’s worse than they thought…
Leaving people like me wondering, when they might actually think?

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  ATheoK
May 10, 2022 11:03 pm

a realistic Earth system model”
The authors need to define the experiment that confirmed “realistic” and which earth system parameters they were able to emulate. Geoff S

Svend Stouge
May 11, 2022 12:55 pm

Being an old fashion geologist it becomes more and more obvious to me that computer model people can tell and explain all of us everything, as long as they can provide a computer based model – but mostly they – or the models – got it wrong.
An example of the reaction of phytoplankton to changes in nature especially to strong ‘Climate change’ towards the warmer climate is well known in earth history and documented by the deposits from the Late Cretaceous – a very warm period in the climate history of the world. Along with rising temperature the production of the phytoplankton became extremely high – at least compared with today. The small creatures – named Coccosphaeres (also living today) made shells of calcite – i.e. they captured the CO2 from the ocean. When they died (or were eaten) their remains accumulated om the sea bottom as calcite mud (the remains are named coccolittes – from Greek: meaning fruit, or berries, and lithos = stone). Today, the ocean mud is known as the deep sea white clay or mud. The Upper Cretaceous limestone deposits accumulated all over the world as an extensive blanket and the deposits are commonly known as ‘Chalk’ in Europe – but have other names elsewhere. The deposits represent the direct response to the higher temperature that prevailed at that time. Chalk is composed of more than 95% of biological components and you probably remember from the school, when the teacher wrote using ‘Chalk’ on the cardboard – i.e. made of microfossils. I am sure that the ‘model people´ are too young to know this.
Sorry for lecture but it strikes me that model people do not have the basal education and knowledge and do not know things like this – meaning that they do not have a clue about nature, natural processes and how responses are to natural changes including ‘climate’ – but of course, this is just my personal opinion

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