Scientists at the University of Colorado-Boulder have shown in a new study that cold ocean currents protect the Galapagos Islands’ waters from warming oceans.
The researcher found that not only are cold eastward equatorial currents buffering the Galapagos waters but are also cooling the water over the decades. The research has shown that average water temperatures have dropped by 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit/0.5 degrees Celsius since the early 90s.
The findings are a reason for optimism about the fate of the second-largest marine reserve in the world. The scientists think the currents would end up protecting the corals and sea life from the effects of climate change.
According to Kris Karnauskas, the study’s lead author and associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and fellow in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES):
“There’s a tug-of-war going on between our greenhouse effect causing warming from above, and the cold ocean current. Right now, the ocean current is winning — it’s not just staying cool, it’s getting cooler year after year. As the Galápagos so far has been relatively unaffected by climate change, it’s worth looking at the Galápagos as a potential site to really try to put some climate change mitigation efforts into. The human pressures on this area and this mechanism that keeps it alive are at odds.”
You can find the original study here.