Climate and oceanography of the Galapagos in the 21st century: expected changes and research needs

With the likelihood that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas levels in the atmosphere will continue to increase for the next decades, and that the planet as a whole will likely warm as a result, we expect the oceanography and climate of the Galapagos to change. Based on an analysis of observational studies and climate models, the main changes are likely to include higher sea-surface temperatures, continued El Niño and La Niña events, some of which will be intense, a rise in sea level of several cm, increased precipitation, lower surface ocean pH, and a reduction in upwelling. These changes will likely alter the marine and terrestrial ecosystems of the Galapagos in ways that are difficult to predict. Major uncertainties exist concerning the relationship between the expected regional changes in ocean temperatures, precipitation, upwelling and seawater pH that most climate models consider, and the local changes in the Galapagos Islands.

Sachs J. P., & Ladd S. N., 2010. Climate and oceanography of the Galapagos in the 21st century: expected changes and research needs. Galapagos Research 67:50-54. Article (subscription required).


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