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global warming

shells.jpgShell weights of marine snails are getting lighter

Tasmanian scientists are worried a microscopic marine snail species found in the Southern Ocean may soon die out due to climate change:

The scientists say it is field evidence that sea life in the Southern Ocean is being affected by warmer water, and if these snails die out it could have dire consequences on the ocean’s food chain.

They took an expedition deep into the Southern Ocean on board the Aurora Australis in February, and collected a number of microscopic marine snails.

The scientists have found the snails have dropped half their shell weight over the past decade.

Dr Donna Roberts says it is evidence that climate change is affecting sea life in the Southern Ocean.

“Many researchers have been assuming we would see this kind of result for the past 50 years and this is the first time we’ve got a measured response to the changing of the ocean chemistry,” she said.

“It’s interesting to know what’s going to happen to commercial fish that eat them because a change in their diet might mean a change in where they actually are living, so it’s not just we might loose one variety of snail it actually could change the whole eco-system of the southern ocean.

“That’s what we’re most worried about that it could completely upset our commercial fish stocks.”

[From ABC News]

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How will climate change impact Tasmania?

Dr Peter McIntosh from the CSIRO department for marine and atmospheric research projects a few possible scenarios from the computer model he ran for Hydro Tasmania.

Slideshow of Tasmanian photographs by Tasmanian Arc 2008

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fire-2.jpg

UPDATE: Smoke haze from burnoffs pushed Tasmania close to breaching air safety standards last week.

In one 24-hour period, emission levels from the forestry regeneration and fuel-reduction burns “were approaching the standard”, state environmental management director Warren Jones told the Sunday Tasmanian.

Elevated particle levels had been detected in Launceston and Hobart on several days during the week.

A Sunday Tasmanian investigation into the smoke haze has revealed:

Between 5000ha and 7000ha is earmarked for forestry regeneration burns this season. About 70,000ha of the state’s forest was razed by wildfire in the past summer.

The smoke contains a mix of carbon monoxide, tar, ash, ammonia and known carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene.

[From Sunday Tasmanian]

 

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The Tasmanian Government will introduce legislation to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by the year 2050.

Premier Paul Lennon says the target will be based in 1990 levels.

He says the government’s car fleet will be carbon neutral by mid 2010 and State Cabinet will consider making it mandatory for major government buildings to have solar power and hot water installed.

Mr Lennon has also announced an agreement with Greening Australia to offset the government’s air travel.

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