In just 40 years, the Atlantic Ocean around Bermuda has become almost unrecognizable.
Over the span of just 40 years, the once-familiar waters of the Atlantic Ocean surrounding Bermuda have undergone drastic and concerning changes, leaving scientists with a startling revelation. The Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS), initiated in 1983, has been monitoring the ocean’s physics, biology, and chemistry, presenting a disconcerting picture of the ocean’s evolution.
According to Professor Nicholas Bates, an ocean researcher at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and professor at Arizona State University, the surface ocean in the subtropical North Atlantic has warmed by approximately 1°C (33.8°F) over the past four decades. Moreover, the ocean has experienced an increase in salinity, a loss of oxygen, and heightened acidity from the 1980s to the 2020s.
These transformations pose a threat to biodiversity, with a 6 percent drop in oxygen levels and a 30 percent increase in acidity observed over the past 40 years. Such alterations can have adverse effects on aquatic organisms, impacting their health and survival, including difficulties in sustaining shells.
Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic, renowned for the Bermuda Triangle, is now facing environmental shifts that reflect the broader challenges imposed by the escalating climate crisis. While the Bermuda Triangle has been associated with mysterious disappearances, scientific evidence dismisses these claims as urban legends.
The changes observed near Bermuda echo a global trend affecting oceans worldwide. Similar observation stations in locations such as Hawaii, the Canary Islands, Iceland, and New Zealand report comparable and troubling alterations related to warming, salinification, and ocean acidification.
Professor Bates emphasizes that these observations not only depict recent changes but also serve as crucial indicators of future transformations. They underscore the urgent need for collective action to address the environmental challenges posed by climate change. As oceans undergo rapid shifts, societies face existential challenges, highlighting the pressing responsibility to mitigate the impacts of the deepening climate crisis.